Recorded on 10/03/2010, uploaded on 10/03/2010
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Claude Debussy composed his two books of preludes during a remarkably brief period—the first, between December 1909 and February 1910; and the second, during roughly the same period in 1912-13. Though totaling twenty-four in number between the two books, Debussy’s preludes do not follow the precedent established by J. S. Bach’s ubiquitously known Well-Tempered Clavier (namely, a prelude in each of the major and minor keys) and imitated by several other composers, including Frédéric Chopin, Charles-Valentin Alkan, and Sergei Rachmaninoff. However, this does not mean that Debussy’s preludes are without order, and the relationships that can be found among them indicate that their published order was, to a certain extent, quite purposeful, yet also designed with a degree of inherent flexibility. Debussy, in keeping with the artistic philosophy of his day, also composed each prelude with specific scene or image in mind. Yet, to partially disguise these intents from the listener and to allow his audience to discover them of their own accord, Debussy craftily placed his titles at the end of each prelude. Performance practice of the preludes varies. Early performances, even by Debussy himself, established a precedent of grouping the prelude in threes or fours, allowing performers to pick those in which they perhaps are most comfortable. However, some performers also choose to perform each book in their entirety.
The sixth prelude of Debussy’s second book takes its inspiration from the famous American juggler General Lavine. With great wit and humor, Debussy captures the eccentrics of the performer within the form of the cakewalk—a dance that originated during the time of slavery on the plantations of the southern United States, but became quite popular, even with composers such as John Philip Sousa and of course Debussy, after its appearance at the 1876 Centennial Exposition. Indeed, Debussy had already utilized the dance as the final movement of his Children’s Corner a few years before composing his Préludes. A fine example of the use of rhythm and contrasts, Général Lavine abounds in jocularity. Its principal melody is somewhat coy, always stated quietly and accompanied with light off-beat chords. To contrast this reserved melody, Debussy interjects sharp, aggressive rhythmic motives (one is even expressly marked strident), meant to serve as sudden attention-grabbers and capture the essence of the prelude’s inspiration. Joseph DuBose
Giorgi Latsabidze Plays Debussy Preludes Book 2_______________________________________________________DVD/CD presented by Onward Entertainment, Wayne Adams, CharismARTist Foundation. A J.G. Weaver Documentary recorded LIVE in performance, November 2009, Los Angeles, CA.This is second documentary recorded live by the above, preceded by LATSABIDZE THE RECITAL, November 2008, Los Angeles, CA
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