Claude Debussy, photographed ca. 1908. He died 100 years back on March 25, 1918. Wikimedia Commons conceal caption
When it concerns heavyweight game-changers like Pelléas et Mélisande, to the audacious symphonic portrait of the sea, La mer. However there are also many rarities such as Chanson des brises (for soprano, females’s choir and piano 4 hands, in a world best recording) and a set of piano rolls Debussy made himself.La plus que lente
, a solo piano piece, was written in 1910 and tape-recorded by Debussy three years later on the Welte-Mignon replicating piano, which accurately imitated the pianist’s pace, phrasing, pedaling and vibrant levels. The piece’s title usually translates in English to “The even slower waltz,”a sarcastic recommendation to the stylish valse lente design of the day.With its syncopated rhythms, flexibility of the melodic line and blue tinted chords in
the left hand, the music appears to point presciently toward jazz– a genre yet to be completely established. Not a surprise then that jazz musicians, from pianist Erroll Garner to saxophonist Kamasi Washington, have been drawn to Debussy.Ignoring much of the old rules about the best ways to develop a piece and how to combine textures, tone and color, Debussy provided new sonic possibilities– especially in works like Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune and his piano Préludes. Hearing him play his own music, even through the old-fashioned player piano, is a fitting way to celebrate a singular artist whose influence and motivation are still quite alive.Purchase Included Music Buy Featured Music Album The Complete Works Artist Claude debussy Label Warner Classics Launched 2018 Your purchase helps support NPR shows.