Wel­come

BBC Music Magazine - - Contents -

I grew up on De­bussy’s mu­sic – Syrinx for solo f lute, played over and over by my brother for Grade what­ever; the Gol­li­wogg’s Cake Walk, which used to be Grade 6 pi­ano, but I have a sus­pi­cion it’s now been shoved into 7 or even 8. And, of course, the Arabesque No. 1, played by ev­ery as­pir­ing teenage pi­anist. Play­ing his mu­sic was al­ways so much fun – se­ri­ous mu­sic that didn’t seem at all se­ri­ous, jazz that our mu­sic teach­ers would in­stantly sanc­tion. And De­bussy’s in­nate skill of writ­ing for the pi­ano meant that ev­ery­thing fell nicely un­der the fin­gers. Max­i­mum ef­fect, min­i­mum ef­fort. Of course, I’m not talk­ing about the harder pieces – oh no. But in gen­eral, I’ll al­ways see De­bussy as one of the most gra­cious of com­posers who un­der­stands that to be ap­pre­ci­ated, it helps if per­form­ers don’t hate you from the start.

Be­fore we’d even started think­ing about our De­bussy spe­cial is­sue, pi­anist Joseph Mid­dle­ton picked up the phone to sug­gest the pro­gramme for this month’s re­mark­able cover CD – a col­lec­tion of songs by two mas­ters of the genre: De­bussy (nat­u­rally) and Mozart, sung by a stel­lar quar­tet of singers and ac­com­pa­nied, in his usual stylish way, by Mid­dle­ton him­self. I do hope you en­joy the min­gled, per­fumed worlds of 18th-cen­tury Aus­tria and early 20th-cen­tury Paris – con­trast­ing but ut­terly com­ple­men­tary. Oliver Condy Edi­tor

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