Thursday, 13 December 2012

Pierre-Laurent Aimard and the modern colours of Debussy

Pierre-Laurent Aimard and the modern colours of Debussy.

The programme Piano Colours that I have been touring with Pierre-Laurent Aimard (painting kinetic images to Liszt, Scriabin, Murail and Benjamin) consists of a beautiful juxtaposition of these works with the Préludes of Debussy. Demonstrating what a crucial figure Debussy was in the transition to the modern era in Western music and “modern” his works can sound.

Debussy doesn’t need illustrating (he hated being termed an “impressionist”). That label may have originated from the titles of many of his works (the Sunken Cathedral, Footprints in the Snow, Fireworks, etc.), which get us straining to “glimpse” vague visual “impressions” in the music. In doing so we may forget to listen to him as a modern abstract colourist.   

In a letter of 1908, he wrote: "I am trying to do 'something different'— an effect of reality...what the imbeciles call 'impressionism'”. How different? What did he mean? Cue Thea Derks…..

As part of her excellent "Quick-start" course on contemporary music, music publicist Thea Derks will show how Debussy was the father of the French music of 20th and 21st century (at 18.45), preceding a performance by Pierre-Laurent Aimard of all 24 of Debussy’s Préludes, in the Amsterdam Muziekgebouw at 20.15 on January 11th. PLA's Préludes are sublime. Thea’s good, too!

An alert for all my Dutch readers: Book now for the course and concert!

                                 Photo: Marco Borggreve

Pierre-Laurent Aimard's recording of Debussy Préludes has just been nominated for a Japanese Record Academy Award.


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