Some of My Favorite Chamber Music of All Time
Karl Henning | Boston, MA | 01/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Some people know Debussy only for the "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun," "La Mer" and his orchestration of Satie's "Gymnopédies." But Debussy expressed only a part of his musical world through large orchestra, and in many ways, not the most characteristic part, there. The soul of Debussy is really to be found in the piano music, and here in the chamber music.There is perfect truth in the cliché, that chamber music reveals a more intimate side of the composer, than the grand gestures typical of the full orchestra.Three of the last pieces Debussy wrote are here, the three sonatas (violin & piano; flute, viola & harp; and cello & piano). While taking my Master's, I was instructed to study the fl/va/hp sonata, and that was one of the happiest assignments of my school years. So if you are thinking of this disc, consider the source, and the fact that I would reckon this two-disc set worth $12 only for this marvelous sonata.But even the listener who may not, perhaps, quite share my enthusiasm for this one piece, will find the other Debussy sonatas, and the Ravel piano trio and sonata for violin & cello, more than ample as accompaniment.I think I should like the music for the "Chansons de Bilitis" well enough, though I can do without the narration.Ravel's "Chansons madécasses" are by turns gracious and striking; at times, not at all the sort of music you expect of Ravel, but every bit as well made as you expect of Ravel.The great esteem and musical affection in which Ravel held Debussy, is touchingly indicated by the fact that Ravel dedicated his vn/vc sonata "to the memory of Debussy.""
Guna | DELHI, India | 02/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This beautiful yet inexpensive CD of impressionist chamber music has some of my favourite music ever, and it has that rare virtue of genuine, not superficial, beauty.
The sonata for flute, viola and harp, with its meditative, gentle atmosphere, is full of smooth, beautiful melodic lines, colourful harmonies combining free modality with extended and whole-tone influences, and some of the most exquisite timbral effects from combinations of the three instruments. Every moment is special!
The violin sonata combines impressionism with jazz influences to create a shadowy, etherial atmosphere; and the cello sonata is rhapsodic, dark, angry and plaintive.
The chansons de bilitis combines beautiful French poetry with incidental music.
Ravel's music is of a less mellifluous, more outwardly dramatic type: the violin-cello duet and the gorgeous piano trio are highlights."