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Debussy: Early Works For Piano Duet / Adrienne Soos, Ivo Haag

Debussy / Soos / Haag
Release Date: 04/26/2011 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572385   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Claude Debussy
Performer:  Adrienne SoósIvo Haag
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



DEBUSSY Printemps. Divertissement. Intermezzo. Symphony in b. Triomphe de Bacchus: Suite (excerpts). Overture Diane. L’Enfant prodigue: Prelude, Cortège, Air de danse Adrienne Soós, Ivo Haag (pn) NAXOS 8.572385 (74:48)


These works constitute Series I, Volume 7—edited by Noël Lee—of the Durand Complete Works of Debussy. Some are Read more polished, some are in a state of disrepair ( Triomphe , in fact, is missing a movement—and its finale is fragmentary), and although they are lumped together by Naxos as examples of “early works for piano duet,” they actually fall into several different categories. The extracts from L’Enfant prodigue are a reduction of excerpts from a work for chorus and orchestra; the Intermezzo is a transcription of an unpublished work for cello and orchestra that is apparently held by a private collector; the Symphony (which, on this recording, includes the Andante Cantabile that is widely considered to be its intended second movement) and Triomphe de Bacchus are drafts of orchestral works never completed; the Divertissement and the Overture are simply four-hand pieces. Printemps —one of several entirely different Debussy works with that title—is a class unto itself. If I’ve got the convoluted history correct, what we have here is Henri Büsser’s four-hand reduction—with the composer’s corrections and blessing—of his own 1912 re-orchestration of Debussy’s version for four hands and chorus of a score (for piano, chorus, and orchestra) that went missing (if it was ever written down at all).


Despite their differences in status and origin, however, they have a great deal in common: they’re all minor pre- Faune works, they’re all written in a style we might call a late-Romantic lite (clearly post- Tristan , but without the passionate turbulence of Mahler or even Franck), and they are all fetching. A few moments may surprise you with their promises of directions not taken: The final section of the Symphony’s first movement briefly seems proto-Elgarian in its swagger; Triomphe de Bacchus is a bit tougher, and often more urgent, than you might expect from Debussy; Overture Diane , in contrast, shows that Debussy could be a deftly sunny tunesmith. On the whole, though, this is easygoing music that cajoles the ears without seriously engaging either the emotions or the intellect.


The performances are appropriate to the music’s softness of spirit. Adrienne Soós and Ivo Haag may fall short in some of the more peremptory outbursts in the second movement of Printemps , and even without comparison to the hard-bitten Kontarsky brothers—whose 1973 recording of the first movement introduced many of us to the Symphony—there are certainly moments where you might want more rhythmic focus and a wider dynamic range (the big crescendo starting at m. 277 in the Divertissement barely comes across). Still, they have a fine sense of the music’s graciousness and sweet lyricism. Even were the repertoire less rare, these performances would be well worth hearing,


Sound is so-so, the notes would be better with more detailed editorial information, and better proofreading of the jacket would surely help. All in all, though, warmly recommended.


FANFARE: Peter J. Rabinowitz
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Works on This Recording

1. Printemps by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Adrienne Soós (Piano), Ivo Haag (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1887; France 
2. Divertissement by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Adrienne Soós (Piano), Ivo Haag (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1884 
3. Intermezzo by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Adrienne Soós (Piano), Ivo Haag (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1882 
4. Symphony in B minor by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Adrienne Soós (Piano), Ivo Haag (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1880; France 
5. Le triomphe de Bacchus: Allegro by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Adrienne Soós (Piano), Ivo Haag (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1882; France 
6. Le triomphe de Bacchus: Andante cantabile by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Adrienne Soós (Piano), Ivo Haag (Piano)
7. Le triomphe de Bacchus: Marche et bacchanale by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Adrienne Soós (Piano), Ivo Haag (Piano)
8. Ouverture Diane by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Adrienne Soós (Piano), Ivo Haag (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1881 
9. L'enfant prodigue: Prélude by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Adrienne Soós (Piano), Ivo Haag (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1884/1908; France 
10. L'enfant prodigue: Cortège et Air de danse by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Adrienne Soós (Piano), Ivo Haag (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1884/1908; France 

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