It’s hard to believe we are nearing the end of our series performing Claude Debussy’s complete piano and chamber music. So far this year visiting artists Roy Howat, Kathryn Stott, Ian Munro and Steven Osborne have worked with, and alongside, our ANAM musicians. The response has been wonderful and it has been inspiring to see how this genius of the musical world touches the heart and intellect of musicians and audiences alike.
To get the year underway, Roy Howat presented a series of lectures on the French master, going into great depth on the workings of his musical structures, harmonic language and extraordinary associations with French verse. It left no doubt about his deep philosophical approach on what music can and should be, his genial craftsmanship and intellect bent on realising these ideals in composition. To quote Debussy himself “Music is a secret form of mathematics, the elements of which have a share in eternity…”
Roy Howat is renowned as both pianist and scholar whose concerts, broadcasts and lectures regularly take him worldwide. We were lucky enough to have him join us for two concerts in our Debussy100 series, performing a selection of Préludes Book 1 in April and Suite bergamasque and En Blanc et Noir in September.
Kathryn Stott’s visit in May was an intense few days to prepare, among other things, the Cello Sonata and a collection of wonderful orchestral transcriptions for two pianos including the three Nocturnes, La Mer and Prelude à l’Après-midi d’un Faune. In June Ian Munro not only performed Images Book 1 but also presented some largely forgotten gems, a highlight being the Chansons de Bilitis, incidental music for narrator, two harps, two flutes and celesta.
Steven Osborne worked with ANAM musicians on the String Quartet, numerous relatively unknown 4-hand and two piano works and also performed the Petite Suite and Images Book 2. “I find it hard to put my finger on what it is about Debussy that I love,” says Steven, “but it’s an absolutely amazing openness in some way. To not control the way the music goes, but to just see what happens. And he keeps finding these amazing things.”
What a thrill it has been for ANAM musicians to also work with composer Lyle Chan on his Sonatas written especially for this project. Debussy never completed his series of six Sonatas for various instruments and Lyle brilliantly took up the challenge of writing his own with Debussy’s intended instrumentation.
Don’t miss the last two concerts in our Debussy100 series with ANAM musicians and Stephen McIntyre (16 November) and yours-truly (26 October).
Words by Timothy Young, ANAM Head of Chamber Music, Resident Piano Faculty
Fri 26 Oct 7.30pm
DEBUSSY Petite pièce for clarinet & piano
DEBUSSY Première rhapsodie for clarinet & piano
DEBUSSY Deux arabesques
DEBUSSY Hommage à Haydn
DEBUSSY Danse bohémienne
DEBUSSY Piano Trio in G major
DEBUSSY Douze études
Timothy Young piano
Iwaki Auditorium – ABC Southbank Centre
120 – 130 Southbank Boulevard SOUTHBANK
Full $60 / Senior $47 / Concession $35
anam.com.au / 03 9645 7911
Debussy100 project presented in partnership with ABC Classic FM
Timothy Young’s ANAM position is generously supported by Margaret Johnson