Today marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Claude Debussy, one of Western music’s revolutionaries.
As with the varying styles of Impressionist paintings, the long view represents something defined, but the closer you get, the more his compositions start to fall apart into the individual components that our minds work imperceptibly to piece together into meaningful shapes.
The long view is so sleek and seductive that listeners long ago began taking Debussy’s art for granted.
I asked pianist Stewart Goodyear for an interview after Saturday’s Beethoven sonata maraton. His immediate response was that, since I had not sat through all 11 hours of his three-part performance, there was nothing to talk about.
That terse, shut-out-all-non-believers response is a natural extension of his determination to present the music his way — and his conviction that his way merits a waking day’s worth of a listener’s undivided attention.
This — an extreme manifestation of an artist’s inner imperative to expression — is what I wanted to probe. Continue reading →
Thanks to Rosemarie Umetsu for pointing out this fascinating video that spans 82 years of recording history, using the opening chords of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3. Note how, in the 1990s, period performance practice alters the string sound.
Guy Dixon has an story in the Globe and Mail about how the CBC is culling its record libraries. This is not a bad idea if people make digital copies, but it appears the broadcaster is not doing so for every recording.
This is a potential tragedy for the history of recorded music — of all genres — in Canada.