15. GoldmanT - Danseuses de Delphes
One thing that learning these preludes taught me is that you can always play softer, and you can always accentuate the contrast between different dynamics more, and I hear that during some of the transitions between sections. After saying previously that I don’t like too much rubato, I hear that I could let this piece breathe a bit more in some parts - I read once that it should be a dance, not a dirge, but I think I stuck to the even pulse a little too much.16. gingko2 - The Little Shepherd
I’m still not enamoured with this composition so I listened to a professional recording on youtube and am still not that keen! I can see why people try it as an easier window into Debussy’s works but it feels like an uphill struggle, it’s quite a ‘naked’ piece and there’s not really much to work with. You contrast the single note lines well with the more sustained chords, and you’ve captured the little ‘leaping’ feeling in the main melodies very well. And the pacing and tempo seems to work well.17. GoldmanT - Canope
Similar to Danseuses, I think this could breathe a little more, and also be taken slightly slower, especially the very first and last parts with the block chords moving around. I love some of the chords and tonalities in this piece, but they have to be carefully balanced with the pedal – there are always pedal instructions implied by the note lengths and rests written into the score, and I try to use this to help me avoid just jamming the pedal down for whole sections, the important bit is usually when you lift up the pedal, not when you push it down. I fluffed up one of the parts about 2/3 of the way through but as usual if someone didn’t know the piece they wouldn’t pick up on it.18. GoldmanT - Minstrels
As above, this is slower than usually played, but this is just the way I felt it. It’s the performance I’m least happy with, the rhythmic parts need to be more even, although it IS supposed to be ‘nerveux’, but it shouldn’t be the pianist that sounds ‘nerveux’. 😊. AGAIN again, the obligatory wrong notes undetectable to those who don’t know the piece, and a few of the tambour rolls not quite articulated as well as they should be, and probably some other stuff that could be tightened up. I do love some parts of this composition, it combines Romantic parody (I hear it about three quarters of the way through) with things that wouldn’t be out of place in a 70s funk tune.19. GoldmanT - Voiles
This is the performance I’m most proud of, mainly because it’s an incredible and subtle composition, but also because I left it the longest before recording it, probably two months from beginning to end. I really worked on the soft contrasts and careful pedalling. There’s a pedal choice right before the Eb minor pentatonic bit in the middle that I would change, and the glissandos could have more clarity, but overall there’s not much I would change about this. Ask me again in a year though! And the recording level is a bit quiet, I could maybe have compressed the loud part in the middle to increase the overall level.20. timmyab - Clair de Lune
I can see why people love this composition, and if you go through the various changes of harmony, particularly between the opening and ending sections it really takes you on a journey. It’s open to a lot of interpretation, quicker or slower, louder or softer in parts, and it never sounds ‘wrong’. This is a solid, consistent performance, if anything it suffers from being played on a cheaper digital piano but it has a lot of soul, you should be very pleased with this. 😊21. Palmpirate - Debussy Bergamasque Suite Prelude
Never heard any of the Bergamasque except for Clair de Lune so this was interesting to hear, especially now I know it was ‘old’ Debussy revised by ‘new’ Debussy. There was a lot of pedal in this but you balanced it all very well and the recording sounds pretty clear even on my wee laptop speakers. Again, another solid performance but I’m not familiar enough with the piece to critique it too much. 22. Ael M. (aelmabalod) - Arabesque no. 1
And this is where we came in! The crickets and slightly out of tune piano actually suit this as a final piece in the recital, it’s like someone stayed up until 3am to have a play on the barroom piano while the barkeeper impatiently sweeps up around them.
It’s getting on for midnight here so I’m running out of ear capacity but it was nice to hear another take on this beautiful piece.
And we’re done. I really enjoyed listening to all of these – I think I liked Debussy more and more the older he got, which is why it’s a shame that he didn’t get to continue composing as Tim pointed out. So because of that I might go and listen to the etudes (again, never heard them yet) but from what I’ve read of them won’t be attempting to play them any time soon!