Deuxième Sonate pour Flûte, Alto et Harpe

I. Pastorale pastorale
II. Interlude interlude
III. Final finale

Brief Explanation :
The quantity of Debussy's chamber works are extremely small and most of them were written in his last years. Perhaps, the largest reason is because of his conception of 'six sonatas'. He planned to complete the series of six sonatas consisting of different instrumental setting for each. We can be sure he intended to do it from the beginning because he wrote down 'six sonates pour divers instruments, composées par Claude Debussy, musicien français (six sonatas for various instruments)' on the front page of his first sonata score. He composed 'sonata for cello (1'st)' and 'sonata for flute, viola and harp (2'nd)' at first in 1915. Next, he completed 'violin sonata (3'rd)' in 1917. Then, he planned to write 3 more sonatas: 'for oboe, horn and cembalo (4'th)', 'trumpet, clarinet, basson and piano (5'th)' and 'doublebass with some instruments (6'th)'. However, the latter 3 sonatas was never completed because of the composer's death. This is the second sonata of the six sonatas with the largest formation and can be characterized in its soft and elegant atmosphere. At first, Debussy seemed to form the ensemble by oboe (not viola) but the 2 winds ensemble was carefully avoided. Also, he largely adopted Franckistic circulatory form. It is appear that he intended to attach importance to archaic manners and taste. In fact, Debussy once described 'pastorale' as 'this sounds like me of 'Nocturne' era'. The suite was published in 1916 and was given the first performance in April of 1917, immediately after the first performance of his first sonata for cello. (2003© K.S.)

Composition / Publishing Date September to October in 1915. published in 1916 from ed. Durand.
Form Flute, Viola and Harp
Duration about 17 min.
21th of April in 1917. In a periodic concert of Independent Music Association, Paris. Pierre Jamet (harp) Manouvrier (flute) Jarecki (viola) * The first names of the latter two performers are unclear because the record is too rough (published by Durand : 1962)

"Les Trois Sonates :
Sonate pour Flûte, alto et Harpe / Sonate pour Violon et Piano / Sonate pour Violoncelle et Piano" (Accord: 205152)

Pascal Roge (p) Pascal Bernold (fl) Bruno Pasquier (vla) Frédérique Cambreling (hrp) Régis Pasquier (vln) François Guye (vc)
Maybe because himself is a pianist, Debussy did not compose many chamber works. But he made 3 sonatas quickly in his last days. This CD conveniently compiles them. Although the fame of this disc is not so large as the recordings of old giants (such as Laskine, Rampal and Pasquier's recording for Erato), the contents are extremely nice (thanks to the best performers of the days in France when this recording made). Above all, the achievement of Rogé as accompanist throughout this recording is marvelous. I am sure that his ability as an accompanist is much greater than a soloist. The present tendency to regard accompanist as being inferior to soloist is tragic misunderstanding. They require different ability. As for the harp sonata is performed by less (generally) known musicians. However, in fact, they are all undoubtfully the masters. The harpist obtained the first prize in Paris Conservatory and was appointed as a solo harpist of National Orchestra of France. Also, Mr.Bernold was the principal flutist of Lyon Orch. and Mr.Cambreling was principal viola of France National Orch.. Their French-rooted interpretation (sounds like the ancient Greek court ladies lying on a field with smiling) are really gentle and soft. Above all, the interpretation of the first movement clearly demonstrates their natural dominance. There is no recording which can catch the nuance of the archaic atmosphere better.

"Introduction et Allegro (Ravel) Conte Fantastique / Deux Divertissements (Caplet) Sonate pour Flûte, Alto et Harpe (Debussy)" (Claves : CD 50-280)
Ursula Holliger (hrp) Peter-Lukas Graf (fl) Serge Collot (vla) Hans Rudolf Stalder (cl) Die Kammermusiker Zürich
Unexpectedly, the date when this instrument - harp - became to attract the modern French composers' attention was fairly new. It is owing to the newly reformed 'chromatic harp' from a company, Erard in 1894. By increasing the quantity of the strings, they can be tuned in chromatic tonality. Then, the potentiality of this instrument was raised dramatically. It is needless to say that the sound is initially attractive for modern composers, so that they started to explore the possibility of the instrument. Imagine! Even though you can easily recall the younger composers when you asked to examplify the modern composers made masterpieces for harp, you will come to notice the fact that it is difficult to recollect many modern composers from older generation (e.g. from Franckists or senior members of Roman Prize referee). Isn't it interesting for you? Yes, the instrument played a important role to distinguish the generations of the belle epoch! This CD compiles the works by 3 representative composers of the newer generation. Including Ms.Holliger (who has studied in Basel and Brussel Conservatory), the performers are Swiss-centric except the viola (he is a member of Parrenin Quartet). The performence clearly reflects their nationality. Comparing to the French disc indicated above, the feature is tight. Also, the tempo is faster than the French one. Although the performance does not contain soft atmosphere or nuance, this is still favorable because of its faithful and strict appearance such that they do not omit any detail. Their virture can be heard especially in the second movement.
The 5 star-ratings are for 'Sonates' only
(2003. 5. 23 upload)

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