Fantasy for piano and orchestra (1890)
I. Andante ma non troppo — Allegro giusto
Budapest Festival Orch.
Debussy’s Fantasy — a three-movement piano concerto or concertino in all but name — was an early work which the composer completed, scheduled for premiere, and then summarily withdrew after a dispute with d’Indy, who had been scheduled to conduct. It was not performed until 1918 (by Cortot) and has been scarcely revived since then.
This is not mature Debussy: the piano figuration perhaps approaches brainless bravura at times, and the work reads much like a Franck-inspired pièce de concours. But it certainly has its merits, probably deserves to be heard more often, and offers interesting insight into the tradition of which its composer was inextricably a part.
Violin Sonata in G minor
III. Finale: Très animé
Ginette Neveu, violin
Jean Neveu, piano
The Violin Sonata was Debussy’s final composition, and its 1917 premiere his last public performance. Debussy conceived it as part of a larger cycle of sonatas for various instruments—similar to what Poulenc would undertake a generation later—but this ambition was never completed. The sonata itself is cyclical in some respects; the structure of the finale, for example, tersely mirrors the larger-scale architecture of the work as a whole.
Debussy with Zohra ben Brahim, 1897, at the house of their friend the erotic poet and photographer Pierre Louÿs. Louÿs brought Zohra to Paris from Algeria as a kind of muse, and, well… “We are stuck together like two dogs in the street,” he had written to Debussy.
(Source: Flickr / desingel)