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Violin Sonata in G minor: II. Intermède: fantastique et léger
Claude Debussy Lyrics

We have lyrics for these tracks by Claude Debussy:

My Reverie Our love is a dream, but in my reverie I can…
Reverie Our love is a dream, but in my reverie I can…

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Gérard Begni

This is the very last important piece completed by Debussy. He planned to write six sonatas, but he could compose only three. He suffereed from a cancer in terminal phase, at a time (1918) where the main medical concern was soldiers wounded during harsh battles et the end of WW1. He suffered a lot. Debussy was an antiromantic who hated to show his inner personality in the music, but this suffering induced here a decrease in the usual softness and half-tone character with which he wrote his most audacious music. Here, the harmonies and melodic profiles are more direct and harsher than usual. Just read the three first chords and examine their mutual relationships, which look partly contradictory and drawing the harmony in opposite directions. This is a common feature in Debussy's music, but genearlly the writing is mush softer. Of course, this is a master ermpiece by Dzebussy- and the greatest Debussy. But the music is more "nude" and direct than usual. This feature is in itself quite moving.


yes it has such a fresh summer feel. you can really hear the buzzing of the mountains, and the harmonies are obviously endowed with Norwegian folk song diatonics, evident by the rapture of each cascading half-tone between the mutual relationships

Owen McGee

@Gérard Begni Righto, I should probably listen to the Poulenc again. His music can disappoint me, but I like that he was composing many works for wind instruments when others were not. To me, his late flute sonata was his best work (followed up by the famous clarinet sonata). Back in the 1920s, he was composing these miniature works, for two clarinets or the like, as if he was trying to do music with a Satie type appeal. Maybe one could describe him as a fellow traveller with Milhaud at that time. It surprised me to discover Ravel's piano trio dated from 1914. In my head, it has "1920s" written all over it, but I don't know why (not for any sound reason, for sure). Germaine Tailleferre's harp concerto is one French work that makes me think of the 1920s and actually is. The "blues" in Ravel's violin sonata makes me wonder if he and even Debussy were thinking of American music more during their lifetimes than people generally assume. I don't think people have explored that idea. But I haven't really read about it, so I don't know. I think I have one book on Debussy somewhere. Called "Debussy Remembered". I've never read about Ravel. His music interests me without particularly liking it. Or rather, if I like it I also find I dislike it for being...agitated. I think of him as a more versatile composer than Debussy, though.

Gérard Begni

@Owen McGee Actually, Ravel (who usually compsoes much quicker)started writing the violin sonata in 1922 and completed it in 1927. Probably there ware two reasons: '1) he had other works to complete and the sonan was mot a priority, and '(2) he was ceraing a new style within the so challenging chamber music style, which imosed much care and nurturation. This sonata is in line with the ideaof giving a leading tole to melody, bur in a quite simpler way than in the sonata for viloin and cello. Actually, you are right when refering to Poulenc. His sonata for violin and piano has something in common withe the very expressive but peculier style of debussy's sonata. In fact, their 'pudic but revolted) cry and their resignation are linked to a horror reaction against death: his own death for Debussy, Garcia Lirca's murdering by Franco's fascist army in southern Spain for Poulenc.

Owen McGee

@Gérard Begni Righto. I don't have the same analytical skills. Ravel's chamber pieces from the 1920s echo this piece to my ears (even the "blues" he did). Whereas his own violin sonata is, I agree, is very different. I believe it is from a later period (the 1930s). Oh, hang on: that's not right. The blues was in the violin sonata, wasn't it? I think I'm thinking temporarily of a different violin sonata. Possibly Poulenc's. Oops. It's Ravel's piano trio I was thinking of, primarily. And, I've just discovered, that was composed/published 1914. Before (roughly the same time as) this. So I get what you're saying there about similar paths as opposed to direct influence.

Gérard Begni

@Owen McGee I partly agree with you, provided that you do not underline similarities in the respective c violin sonatas, which are quite different. Actually, in my mind, there is a mutual influence or similatities, but tht are more subtle that that. In the befinning of the vuilin sonata - which you righrty quote, We can see in rhe piano part a very nude series of parallel perfect chords (begiinng by G minor => C major, which is "forbidden' in academic hatmony - actually, it cxan br rxplained wu ithin te context of the D mode, which Ravle used so often. The next chord is Eb minor, frim a distant regionn, an harmonic writing typical from Debussy). Your statement is rught, but I would like to reverse it as wall. This chord vhaining is alsi typical from Ravel as soon as the 1910"s: read for instance the "Valses Nobles et santimentales" and the "tombeau de Couperin", or even later but in a more compex way =yje "sonate en duo pour violon et violoncelle"? Actuallt, at that i time, the need for more clarity was a diffuse but significant trend. T You may find in in Dtravinsky or later in the young Milhad, or Hindemith. swicthing to another writing Style,, even Schoenberg's evolution fo tomr free expressionaist atonality to serialism ca be considered as a matter of clarification. Barok's writing is quite compex, but you can easisly retrieve the rootq of his compositions. The complex siiue is to undesstand the linkbetwzzn thix complex writing and extended tonality. It is espcially true in his string quartets or in his sonata for two pianos and percussion. IN the case of Debussy, in addition to a general stylistic move, we could evoke the suggerings of hid final=cancer disease. In the case of Ravel, a generalk trend to clarity both by evidencing the harmonic skeleuon (raougly speaking, before WW1) and, after that, putting priority on melodic laines, their encounters generating the harmonic flelds (sonante for violin and cello)

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John Miller

This is such a beautiful piece I love Debussy

Gérard Begni

In addition, it was his final composition, written while he was suffering a lot from a cancer in its final phase. He died some weeks after having completed the sonata and given it to his editor and friend Durand, who visited him quite often. . This happened during the last very deadly months of WW1, when wounded soldiers needed almost all available medical care.

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Unbelievable this is the final piece he wrote and performed before he passed away in March 1918.

Alexander Churakov

The phrases at 1:38 are beautiful beyond words. They make me cry everytime I hear them. I feel a sense of healing grace.

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