Japanese Echoes - Hommage à Claude Debussy

DEBUSSY: La danse du Puck, SATOSHI MINAMI (b.1955): Soundprint No. 4, DEBUSSY: Des pas sur la neige, YASUKO YAMAGUCHI (b.1969): Die Entdeckung der Freude im Schnee, DEBUSSY: Canope, TAKASHI FUJII (b.1959): Annotation on a Japanese Lullaby, DEBUSSY: Brouillards, KUMIKO OMURA (b.1970): `A travers le brouillard, DEBUSSY: Feuilles mortes, TAKAYUKI RAI (b.1973): Misty Stillness, DEBUSSY: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir, ASAKO MIYAKI (b.1967): The garden of afterimage II - butterfly pattern.

Catalogue Number: 12T061

Label: TYXart

Reference: TXA 17099

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: This is a novel concept for a concept album. As the notes rightly point out, Debussy was fascinated by music of the far East, traces of which are detectable in his music. And the influence in the opposite direction has been immense - how often have we had cause to use the expression "quasi-impressionistic" in describing a disc of contemporary Japanese music in these pages? So the Duo Imaginaire commissioned six Japanese composers to write musical 'responses' to six of Debussy's préludes for piano, which are performed here in the duo's effective transcriptions for harp and clarinet. Debussy's subtle coloristic effects and flowing melodies translate well to this combination, it must be said. Each Prélude is followed by the contemporary composer's 'answer'. None of them quote the original in extenso, though all borrow figuration and gesture to a greater or lesser extent, and all take the atmosphere and mood of Debussy's pieces as a starting point. Some go on to extend the expressive territory covered, as for instance Yamaguchi's expansion of the moods covered by Footsteps in the Snow; others, such as Rai's Misty Stillness preserve the atmosphere of the original, in this case maintaining the autumnal mood of 'Dead Leaves'. Several of the pieces extend the timbres of the instruments into areas implied but never explored by Debussy's palette of tone colours, mostly through mild and euphonious multiphonics on the clarinet and in the case of Minami's piece, the subtle 'preparation' of the harp, with what sounds like paper between the strings. Certainly a new slant on a familiar body of work, and never avant garde or remotely unapproachable. Duo Imaginaire.


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