Saturday, November 3, 2012

Claude Debussy, himself, plays "The Engulfed Cathedral"

If you're still not convinced that scholars such as Maurice Hinson are correct as to how Debussy's "The Sunken Cathedral" should be played, here is INCONTROVERTIBLE EVIDENCE.

Here is a piano roll of the work made by Debussy himself.

Some argue (convincingly) that piano rolls aren't necessarily a complete picture of a performance.  It is true that the tempo can be tampered with, and like present-day recordings, missed notes and uneven passages could be "fixed".  But once the tempo is set, it stays. 

This explains the rather unorthodox combined time signature of 3/2 and 6/4.  Some sections are played with the half note as a beat unit, some with the quarter note as the beat unit.

Record collectors state that it was "played correctly" on recordings until Walter Gieseking recorded it (wrong).  In fact, I have an early Arthur Rubinstein recording where he plays it like this.

Let's stop arguing the point and play it the way the Master did.


9 comments:

  1. Thank you for this posting. I have enjoyed playingthis piece for 30 years but never knew if I played it "right." Very enlightening!

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    1. thank you for posting. I am still working on this song

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    2. For the absolute best interpretations of Debussy, listen to the album "Snowflakes are Dancing" by Isao Tomita.

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  2. I have the notes, just working on dynamics :)

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  3. its amazing how you were able to record him!

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  4. I think I've finally got it!!!!!

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  5. just beautiful. I love it.

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  6. Please see my article published in the American Music Teacher, August 2006 entitled "Solving Performance Problems in Debussy's Cathedrale Engloutie in which I discuss not only the meter, but pedaling, and errors in the manuscript. Janet Bass Smith

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