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Debussy: Complete Music for Piano Duo Box set

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

  • Conductor: None
  • Composer: Debussy
  • Audio CD (25 Mar. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Brilliant Classics
  • ASIN: B00B7U5KDE
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 307,608 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

Massimiliano Damerini & Marco Rapetti, piano

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Format: Audio CD
Less than a month after reviewing another outstanding CD of piano duo music by Debussy Debussy: Four Hand Piano Music [Jean-Pierre Armengaud, Olivier Chauzu] [Naxos: 8572979] here comes another, this one with all of Debussy's music for piano four-hands or two pianos. And what a revelation it is! Much of the music on these three discs is fairly obscure but all of it is rewarding. Also rewarding is that the contents of the three discs are in precise chronological order of composition so that one can hear Debussy's style evolve from the Massenet-like 'Symphonie' of 1880, to the impressionism of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (1892-4) and La Mer (1903-5) to the spare, stark En blanc et noir (1915). And in absolutely sparkling performances by the Italian pianists, Massimiliano Damerini and Marco Rapetti, who alternate who takes the primo and who the secondo part.

'Symphonie' consists of two movements -- Allegro and Andante cantabile. These two movements are all that remain of a four movement symphony which Debussy never got around to orchestrating. Like many composers Debussy composed at the piano and then orchestrated his music. The first disc continues with stand-alone works, the overture 'Diane' (1880), music from 'Le triomphe de Bacchus: Suite d'orchestre' which not only never got orchestrated but didn't even get finished in piano score (there are two 'fragments' recorded here in addition to the four completed movements) and 'Intermezzo' (1882), and then ends with the four-movement 'Première suite d'orchestre (1882-3) which was only discovered in 2008.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8c5d68b8) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c5e7990) out of 5 stars A 3 1/2 Hour Feast of Debussy, Brilliant Performances, Budget Price 4 May 2013
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Less than a month after reviewing another outstanding CD of piano duo music by Debussy Debussy: Four Hand Piano Music here comes another, this one with all of Debussy's music for piano four-hands or two pianos. And what a revelation it is! Much of the music on these three discs is fairly obscure but all of it is rewarding. Also rewarding is that the contents of the three discs are in precise chronological order of composition so that one can hear Debussy's style evolve from the Massenet-like 'Symphonie' of 1880, to the impressionism of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (1892-4) and La Mer (1903-5) to the spare, stark En blanc et noir (1915). And in absolutely sparkling performances by the Italian pianists, Massimiliano Damerini and Marco Rapetti, who alternate who takes the primo and who the secondo part.

'Symphonie' consists of two movements -- Allegro and Andante cantabile. These two movements are all that remain of a four movement symphony which Debussy never got around to orchestrating. Like many composers Debussy composed at the piano and then orchestrated his music. The first disc continues with stand-alone works, the overture 'Diane' (1880), music from 'Le triomphe de Bacchus: Suite d'orchestre' which not only never got orchestrated but didn't even get finished in piano score (there are two 'fragments' recorded here in addition to the four completed movements) and 'Intermezzo' (1882), and then ends with the four-movement 'Première suite d'orchestre (1882-3) which was only discovered in 2008.

The second disc contains the twelve-minute-long 'Divertissement' (1884), for all intents and purposes a colorful orchestral piece that somehow never got orchestrated. The come three movements from Debussy's Prix de Rome cantata, 'L'enfant prodigue' (1884). 'Printemps' (1887), a two-piece suite which Debussy originally pictured as a suite for orchestra and chorus, really ushers in Debussy's impressionistic voice. It pictures the newly verdant countryside awakening from the long winter. (I first listened to this performance while driving in Vermont's newly green spring landscape and had one of those synesthetic experiences that can happen sometimes with music. I didn't want the music to end.) Next comes of the most familiar of Debussy's piano duo works, the piano-four hand 'Petite Suite' (1886-9) of four movements. It was never intended to be orchestrated, but of course a later composer, Henri Büsser, did so in 1907 and that may be how it is best known (except for us four-hand fanatics who have played it many times with a partner at the keyboard). 'Marche éccossaise' (1891) was written for an American ambassador to France who has Scots forebears and it features a song sung by his Ross ancestors. The disc ends with the popular 'Prélude à l'après-midi dun faune' (1892-4) in a marvelous performance. One does miss Debussy's better-known orchestration, especially the plaintive flute heard at the very beginning of the piece, but on repeated hearings its charms grow.

The third disc starts with a work I hadn't even known existed, 'Lindajara' (1901), a Spanish/Moorish-inflected work that has some similarities to Ravel's 'Habañera'. Then comes a piano four-hands version 'La Mer' (1903-5) which I also had not known of. Somehow one can hear the work's marvelous orchestration in one's mind's ear from this quite wonderfully written (and played) version. Even with the piano's slightly percussive sound one can hear the waves and the wind. More amazing is the two-piano version of 'Danses sacrée et profane', better known in its harp-and-strings orchestration which Debussy wrote on commission for the manufacturer of the newly invented chromatic harp. It is evocative, shimmering. 'Six épigraphes antiques' (1914) were written in Debussy's newly evolved spare style but it began life as a 1901 set using two flutes, two harps, and celesta to accompany poems by Pierre Louÿs' 'Chansons de Bilitis' which Debussy completely recast in the four-hand version. (He later arranged it for solo piano and then Ernest Ansermet orchestrated it in 1939. Lots of lives for these six descriptive pieces!) Finally comes what many consider to be Debussy's two-piano masterpiece, 'En blanc et noir' (1915) (originally entitle 'Caprices en blanc et noir'), a three-movement suite that many commentators suggest was inspired by both the horror of World War I and by Goya's black-and- white 'Caprichos', etchings depicting the ghastliness of war. Debussy quotes a foreboding version Luther's 'Eine feste berg' and inserts a palimpsest of the 'Marseillaise' and Stravinsky's 'Firebird'.

Although I had never heard of Massimiliano Damerini and Marco Rapetti before, clearly they are artists of the first rank and these performances are magnificent. I cannot recommend this three-disc set enthusiastically enough. I immediately loaded it onto my iPod so that I can listen to it wherever I go, something I do only with discs I really treasure.

So, within a month's time I have heard two sets of Debussy four-hand music that are highly recommendable: the Armengaud/Chauzu disc mentioned above and this one. One will have to make a choice as which to have based on the pieces contained on each of them. This one has everything Debussy wrote for two-pianists; the earlier disc has a one-disc selection.

Scott Morrison
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c5e9e28) out of 5 stars Debussy Four Hand Piano Music Superbly Played 14 Dec. 2013
By T. E. Layman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Brilliant Classics continues to amaze me with the quality of the music they record, and yet the prices remain very very reasonable. How do they do it? Well, for one they use European musicians who are first-rate and not looking for a penthouse suite from a single recording. Who the dickens are Massimiliano Damerini and Marco Rapetti. Heard them in concert at the Carnegie recently? Not likely to either. Both are truly excellent pianists, but not pursuing the high life by trying to sign with a big name company. Rapetti did receive his music degrees at Juilliard (both the Masters and Doctorate). Then the little devil went home to Italy to make great music, to teach, and do radio work. These two men make wonderful music together, and I cannot fault their playing in any way. I greatly loved the Danses Sacred et Profane; these are played with great elan and joy, particularly the latter. I don't often give 5 Stars to recordings with the idea that someone will come along soon and better the one I've just heard...but this one is absolutely top flight. Do yourself a favor and buy it if you are a Debussy piano man/woman.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c5e90f0) out of 5 stars Three Stars 28 July 2015
By Virgil K. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Music needs more character and shading
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