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Cat. No. CHAN 10717 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10717 - Debussy: Premier Quatuor/Deux Danses/Premier Trio/Reverie
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Available From: 15 March 2012
Debussy: Premier Quatuor/Deux Danses/Premier Trio/Reverie

The Brodsky Quartet celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year. Formed in 1972, the Quartet quickly emerged at the forefront of the international chamber music scene. It has performed more than 2000 concerts and made more than fifty highly acclaimed recordings. Now exclusive Chandos artists, the Brodsky players are releasing their second album on Chandos with guest soloists Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and the harpist Sioned Williams.

The Trio for piano, violin, and cello is an early work, written before Debussy established his own very distinctive musical language heard in pieces such as La Mer. Another early piece, Rêverie, for piano, was written by the young, struggling composer at a time when he was trying to make a living in Paris. The easiest market to break into for a composer was the salon, where songs and not-too-taxing piano music were in demand. Rêverie was one of several charming and tuneful works that Debussy wrote for this scene.

In a somewhat different league, the String Quartet is considered a defining work in the history of chamber music. Sensual and impressionistic, it employs a cyclic structure that constituted a split from the rules of classical form and pointed the way forward. In the words of Pierre Boulez, Debussy freed chamber music from ‘rigid structure, frozen rhetoric, and rigid aesthetics’.

The Deux Danses, made up of the ‘Danse sacrée’ and ‘Danse profane’, complete the disc. At the end of the nineteenth century, the Parisian instrument makers Pleyel invented a ‘chromatic harp’ which dispensed with pedals and achieved the full chromatic compass from two rows of strings that slanted across one another. Debussy was approached to write two pieces intended for a final examination of the Pleyel model. ‘Danse sacrée’ makes use of Church modes, while ‘Danse profane’ is a kind of sarabande. The ‘competition’ aspect of the pieces is highlighted by the fact that, after the opening introduction, the harpist has no more than six bars’ rest. As it happened, the Pleyel model never caught on, and the works are now always performed on a pedal harp.


                        ****   Excellent
Piero Rattalino - Musica magazine - September 2012

"...a most gratifying and handsomely presented program."
Ronald E Grames - Fanfare - September/October 2012

                   Repertoire ****            Sound  ****            Interpretation ****

Isabel Fedrizzi – Ensemble magazine – August/September 2012

“...To sum up, this is a superb Debussy disc to have. The String Quartet performance is the main attraction, and is superlatively performed and recorded. None of the additional works is negligible, and all are given eminently rewarding performances.”
Dominy Clements – MusicWeb-International.com – June 2012

Guy Engels - Pizzicato magazine - June 2012

         Performance ****      Recording ****

“This is a marvellously inventive collection ... This pick of this finely recorded disc is the arrangement for harp and string quintet of the Deux Danses (sacrée et profane), where the Brodskys are joined by Chris Laurence on double bass in supporting harpist Sioned Williams...”
Christopher Dingle – BBC Music magazine – June 2012 

“...Altogether a satisfying and unique Debussy coupling, superbly played ...”

Edward Greenfield – Gramophone Magazine – June 2012


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