Chopin, Debussy & Schubert (Andrew Le)

Chopin, Debussy & Schubert (Andrew Le)

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Frederic Chopin
1. Polonaise-Fantasy, Op. 61 13:27

Claude Debussy
Images, Book 2
2. Cloches à travers les feuilles 4:30
3. Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut 5:16
4.  Poissons d'or 4:06

Franz Schubert
Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960
5. I. Molto moderato 13:35
6. II. Andante sostenuto 8:08
7. III. Scherzo: Allegro vivace con delicatezza 4:19
8. IV. Allegro ma non troppo

Chopin is a composer that I grew up with, and his music is among the very first that I heard with young ears. I deeply loved listening to all of Chopin's genres: his Nocturnes, Ballades, Polonaises, Sonatas, his F-minor Fantasy, and so on. Composed late in Chopin's life, the Polonaise-Fantasy, Op. 61 is the amalgamation of all these genres. It has the poetry of his Nocturnes, the breadth of his Sonatas, the drama of his Ballades, the declamation of his Polonaises, and the freedom of his Fantasy. To me, Chopin's Polonaise-Fantasy stands alone as one of his crowning achievements.

The first piece in Debussy’s Images, Book 2, Cloches à travers les feuilles (The bells through the leaves) is said to have been inspired by the sound of rural church bells ringing through the countryside between All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. The title for the second piece of Images 2, Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut (And the moon descends upon the temple that was), is an intentional, twelve-syllable Alexandrine; this was Debussy's nod to one of his chief inspirations, Symbolist poet Charles Baudelaire. Finally, Poissons d'or (Fish of gold) is an extroverted, dazzling depiction of the love life of two carp, inspired by a lacquer piece in Debussy's study. 

Composed during the last month of his life, Schubert's Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960, is a piece that is contemplative of death. However, much of it is comprised of moments that seem to make life worth living. Schubert's masterful balance between major tonalities (representing beauty, vision, and peace) and minor tonalities (song, drama, and tragedy) gives this work a vast emotional scope. Indeed, at times, Schubert seems to suspend time altogether. 

Andrew Le (2013)