Debussy: Works for piano four hands: Petite suite; Marche écossaise sur un thème populaire; Six epigraphes antiques; Symphony in B minor; La mer

COMPOSERS: Debussy
LABELS: Quartz
ALBUM TITLE: Debussy
WORKS: Works for piano four hands: Petite suite; Marche écossaise sur un thème populaire; Six epigraphes antiques; Symphony in B minor; La mer
PERFORMER: Joseph Tong, Waka Hasegawa (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: QTZ 2048
Debussy was an accomplished duettist and the pieces here reflect that. The most interesting revelation comes with the four-hand La mer, which was written before the more popular orchestral version, and which feels like a completely different work. In ‘De l’aube à midi sur la mer’ the primo-secondo relationship really does suggest light dancing on a swell; the harmonies of ‘Dialogue du vent et de la mer’ have a luminous clarity you could only find with the piano.

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The Marche écossaise exudes a ceremonious vigour, and the Symphony has the documentary interest of showing how the composer was thinking at the age of 18. The Petite suite coruscates, and the Epigraphes exude a warm and mysterious resonance in these perfectly balanced performances by Tong and Hasegawa. The miking is a bit too close, but otherwise this is a triumphantly successful experiment. Michael Church