Notes and Editorial Reviews
Claude Debussy presented himself as a candidate for the Prix de Rome on three separate occasions during the 1880s, the most innovative decade in the history of that competition; a time when success entitled the victors (at the French government's expense) to spend several years at the Villa Medici in Rome. Names of prize winners from this time include Debussy, Dukas, Leroux and Charpentier. Presented on this two CD set is a group of little known compositions by Debussy, dating from between 1882 and 1888: Le Gladiateur and the first versions of L'Enfant prodigue (of which only the 1906 reorchestration is occasionally performed) and Printemps - a highly individual piece (scored for choir and piano, four hands) later turned into a symphonic suite. A version for piano and voice of La Damoiselle élue and the choruses written for the competitions of 1882, 1883 and 1884 complete this survey of hitherto unknown works by Debussy. This release represents the first issue in a new collection from Glossa centred on music associated with the Prix de Rome. This is being prepared in collaboration with Hervé Niquet, who here is conducting two of Europe's foremost ensembles: the Flemish Radio Choir and the Brussels Philharmonic.