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The 100 most inspiring musicians of all Time

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: The 100 most inspiring musicians of all time

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Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: The 100 most inspiring musicians of all time

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (b. April 25 [May 7, New Style], 1840, Votkinsk, Russia—d. Oct. 25 [Nov. 6], 1893, St. Petersburg) is largely regarded as the
most popular Russian composer of all time. His music has always had great appeal for the general public in virtue of its tuneful, open-hearted melodies, impressive harmonies, and colourful, picturesque orchestration, all of which evoke a profound emotional response.

His oeuvre includes 7 symphonies, 11 operas, 3 ballets, 5 suites, 3 piano concertos, a violin concerto, 11 overtures (strictly speaking, 3 overtures and 8 single movement programmatic orchestral works), 4 cantatas, 20 choral works, 3 string quartets, a string sextet, and more than 100 songs and piano pieces.

Tchaikovsky sheet music pdf

Early Years

Tchaikovsky was the second of six surviving children of Ilya Tchaikovsky, a manager of the Kamsko-Votkinsk metal works, and Alexandra Assier, a descendant of French émigrés. He manifested a clear interest in music from childhood, and his earliest musical impressions came from an orchestrina in the family home. At age four he made his first recorded attempt at composition, a song written with his younger sister Alexandra.

In 1845, he began taking piano lessons with a local tutor, through which he
became familiar with Frédéric Chopin’s mazurkas and the piano pieces of Friedrich Kalkbrenner. In 1850 Tchaikovsky entered the prestigious Imperial School of Jurisprudence in St. Petersburg, a boarding institution for young boys, where he spent nine years. He proved a diligent and successful student who was popular among his peers. At the same time Tchaikovsky formed in this all-male environment intense emotional ties with several of his schoolmates.

In 1854 his mother fell victim to cholera and died. During the boy’s last years at the school, Tchaikovsky’s father invited the professional teacher Rudolph Kündinger to give him piano lessons. At age 17 Tchaikovsky came under the influence of the Italian singing instructor Luigi Piccioli, and thereafter Tchaikovsky developed a lifelong passion for Italian music. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni proved another revelation that deeply affected his musical taste. In the summer of 1861 he traveled outside Russia for the first time, visiting Germany, France, and England, and in October of that year he began attending music classes offered by the recently founded Russian Musical Society. When St. Petersburg Conservatory opened the following fall, Tchaikovsky was among its first students.

Tchaikovsky spent nearly three years at St. Petersburg Conservatory, studying harmony and counterpoint with Nikolay Zaremba and composition and instrumentation with Anton Rubinstein. Among his earliest orchestral works was an overture entitled The Storm (composed 1864), a mature attempt at dramatic program music. The first public performance of any of his works took place in August 1865, when Johann Strauss the Younger conducted Tchaikovsky’s Characteristic Dances at a concert in Pavlovsk, near St. Petersburg.

Middle Years

After graduating in December 1865, Tchaikovsky moved to Moscow to teach music theory at the Russian Musical Society, soon thereafter renamed the Moscow Conservatory. He found teaching difficult, but his friendship with the director, Nikolay Rubinstein, helped make it bearable. Within five years Tchaikovsky had produced his first symphony, Symphony No. 1 in G Minor (composed 1866; Winter Daydreams), and his first opera, The Voyevoda (1868).

In 1868 Tchaikovsky met a Belgian mezzo-soprano named Désirée Artôt, with whom he fleetingly contemplated a marriage, but their engagement ended in failure. he opera The Voyevoda was well received, even by the The Five, an influential group of nationalistic Russian composers who never appreciated the cosmopolitanism of Tchaikovsky’s music. In 1869 Tchaikovsky completed Romeo and Juliet, an overture in which he subtly adapted sonata form to mirror the dramatic structure of Shakespeare’s play. Nikolay Rubinstein conducted a successful performance of this work the following year, and it became the first of Tchaikovsky’s compositions eventually to enter the standard international classical repertoire.

In March 1871 the audience at Moscow’s Hall of Nobility witnessed the successful performance of Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No. 1, and in April 1872 he finished another opera, The Oprichnik. While spending the summer at his sister’s estate in Ukraine, he began to work on his Symphony No. 2 in C Minor, later dubbed The Little Russian, which
he completed later that year. The Oprichnik was first performed at the Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in April 1874. His next opera, Vakula the Smith (1874), later revised as Cherevichki (1885; The Little Shoes), was similarly judged. In his early operas the young composer experienced
difficulty in striking a balance between creative fervour and his ability to assess critically the work in progress.

However, his instrumental works began to earn him his reputation,
and, at the end of 1874, Tchaikovsky wrote his Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, a work destined for fame despite its initial rejection by Rubinstein. The concerto premiered successfully in Boston in October 1875, with Hans von Bülow as the soloist. During the summer of 1875,
Tchaikovsky composed Symphony No. 3 in D Major, which gained almost immediate acclaim in Russia.

Years of Fame

At the very end of 1875, Tchaikovsky left Russia to travel in Europe. He was powerfully impressed by a performance of Georges Bizet’s Carmen at the Opéra-Comique in Paris; in contrast, the production of Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle, which he attended in Bayreuth, Germany, during
the summer of 1876, left him cold. In November 1876 he put the final touches on his symphonic fantasia Francesca da Rimini, a work with which he felt particularly pleased.

Earlier that year, Tchaikovsky had completed the composition of Swan ake, which was the first in his famed trilogy of ballets. The ballet’s premiere took place on Feb. 20, 1877, but it was not a success owing to poor staging and choreography.

The growing popularity of Tchaikovsky’s music both within and outside of Russia inevitably resulted in public interest in him and his personal life. Although homosexuality was officially illegal in Russia, the authorities tolerated it among the upper classes. But social and familial pressures,
as well as his discomfort with the fact that his younger brother Modest was exhibiting the same sexual tendencies, led to Tchaikovsky’s hasty decision in the summer of 1877 to marry Antonina Milyukova, a young and naive music student who had declared her love for him. Tchaikovsky’s
homosexuality, combined with an almost complete lack of compatibility between the couple, resulted in matrimonial disaster—within weeks he fled abroad, never again to live with his wife. This experience forced Tchaikovsky to recognize that he could not find respectability through
social conventions and that his sexual orientation could not be changed.

The year 1876 saw the beginning of the extraordinary relationship that developed between Tchaikovsky and Nadezhda von Meck, the widow of a wealthy railroad tycoon; it became an important component of their lives
for the next 14 years. A great admirer of his work, she chose to become his patroness and eventually arranged for him a regular monthly allowance; this enabled him in 1878 to resign from the conservatory and devote his efforts to writing music. Thereafter he could afford to spend the winters in Europe and return to Russia each summer.

The period after Tchaikovsky’s departure from Moscow proved creatively very productive. Early in 1878 he finished several of his most famous compositions—the opera Eugene Onegin, the Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, and the Violin Concerto in D Major. From December 1878 to August 1879 he worked on the opera The Maid of Orleans, which was not
particularly well received. Over the next 10 years Tchaikovsky produced his operas Mazepa (1883; based on Aleksandr Pushkin’s Poltava) and The Enchantress (1887), as well as the masterly symphonies Manfred (1885) and Symphony No. 5 in E Minor (1888). His other major achievements of this period include Serenade for Strings in C Major, Opus 48 (1880),
Capriccio italien (1880), and the 1812 Overture (1880).

Final Years

At the beginning of 1885, tired of his peregrinations, Tchaikovsky settled down in a rented country house near Klin, outside of Moscow. There he adopted a regular daily routine that included reading, walking in the forest,
composing in the mornings and the afternoons, and playing piano duets with friends in the evenings.

At the January 1887 premiere of his opera Cherevichki, he finally overcame his longstanding fear of conducting. Moreover, at the end of December he embarked upon his first European concert tour as a conductor, which included Leipzig, Berlin, Prague, Hamburg, Paris, and London. He met with great success and made a second tour in 1889. Between October 1888 and August 1889 he composed his second ballet, The Sleeping Beauty. During the winter of 1890, while staying in Florence, he concentrated on his third Pushkin opera, The Queen of Spades, which was written in just 44 days and is considered one of his finest.

Later that year Tchaikovsky was informed by Nadezhda von Meck that she was close to ruin and could not continue his allowance. This was followed by the cessation of their correspondence, a circumstance that caused Tchaikovsky considerable anguish.

In the spring of 1891 Tchaikovsky was invited to visitthe United States on the occasion of the inauguration of Carnegie Hall in New York City. He conducted before enthusiastic audiences in New York, Baltimore, and
Philadelphia. Upon his return to Russia, he completed his last two compositions for the stage—the one-act opera Iolanta (1891) and a two-act ballet Nutcracker (1892).

In February 1893 he began working on his Symphony No. 6 in B Minor (Pathétique), which was destined to become his most celebrated masterpiece. He dedicated it to his nephew Vladimir (Bob) Davydov, who in Tchaikovsky’s late years became increasingly an object of his passionate love. His world stature was confirmed by his triumphant European and American tours and his acceptance in June 1893 of an honorary doctorate from the University of Cambridge.

On October 16 Tchaikovsky conducted his new symphony’s premiere in St. Petersburg. The mixed reaction of the audience, however, did not affect the composer’s belief that the symphony belonged among his best work. On October 21 he suddenly became ill and was diagnosed with cholera, an epidemic that was sweeping through St. Petersburg. Despite all medical efforts to save him, he died four days later from complications arising from the disease.

Wild rumors circulated among his contemporaries concerning his possible suicide, which were revived in the late 20th century by some of his biographers, but these allegations cannot be supported by documentary evidence.

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The Best of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

1. Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 23 – Allegro non troppo 00:00​ 2. Eugene Onegin: Act III. Polonaise 08:56​ 3. Symphony No. 6 in B Minor “Pathetique”: Adagio – Allegro non troppo 14:00​ 4. Violin Concerto, Op. 35: II. Andante

33:15​ 5. Slavonic March (Marche Slave), Op. 31 40:06​ 6. 1812 Overture 50:50​ 7. The Nutcracker: Miniature Ouverture 1:06:46​ 8. The Nutcracker: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy 1:10:13​ 9. The Nutcracker: Valzer dei Fiori 1:12:04​ 10. The Sleeping Beauty Op. 66: Ouverture

1:18:43​ 11. Swan Lake: Dance of the Swans 1:21:31​ 12. Swan Lake: Waltz in A Major 1:30:17​ 13. Swan Lake: Scene from Act 2 1:37:51

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Top 25 icons in Jazz history

Bill Evans: The Top 25 icons in Jazz history

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Bill Evans: The Top 25 icons in Jazz history

More than 25 years after his death, Bill Evans remains one of the most important pianists in modern jazz. His introspective lyricism and subtle Western classical flourishes have echoes in a legion of fellow keyboard players. As a leader and composer, he introduced an influential, highly interactive approach to trio and small-group performances.

Born William John Evans on Aug. 16, 1929, in Plainfield, N.J., Evans was fascinated by music from an early age — as a toddler, he would eavesdrop on his older brother’s piano lessons. By the time he was 6, he was taking lessons himself and displaying an uncanny ability to read and absorb music.

Evans followed his brother to Southeastern Louisiana University. He left college for a brief stint in the Army, and in 1955 enrolled at New York City’s Mannes College of Music. The New York jazz scene allowed him to hone his craft and mingle with pianists such as Bud Powell, Horace Silver, Lennie Tristano, and George Shearing. Evans soon landed a recording deal with Riverside Records, and his debut album (New Jazz Conceptions) came out in September 1956.

More than 25 years after his death, Bill Evans remains one of the most important pianists in modern jazz. His introspective lyricism and subtle Western classical flourishes have echoes in a legion of fellow keyboard players. As a leader and composer, he introduced an influential, highly interactive approach to trio and small-group performances.

Born William John Evans on Aug. 16, 1929, in Plainfield, N.J., Evans was fascinated by music from an early age — as a toddler, he would eavesdrop on his older brother’s piano lessons. By the time he was 6, he was taking lessons himself and displaying an uncanny ability to read and absorb music.

Evans followed his brother to Southeastern Louisiana University. He left college for a brief stint in the Army, and in 1955 enrolled at New York City’s Mannes College of Music. The New York jazz scene allowed him to hone his craft and mingle with pianists such as Bud Powell, Horace Silver, Lennie Tristano, and George Shearing. Evans soon landed a recording deal with Riverside Records, and his debut album (New Jazz Conceptions) came out in September 1956.

The Best of Bill Evans

Tracklist:

00:00:00​ Minority 00:05:22​ Young and Foolish 00:11:12​ Lucky to Be Me 00:14:49​ Night and Day 00:22:02​ Epilogue, Pt. 1 00:22:41​ Tenderly 00:26:12​ Peace Piece 00:32:47​ What Is There to Stay?

00:37:37​ Oleo 00:41:43​ Epilogue, Pt. 2 00:42:19​ Come Rain, or Come Shine 00:45:40​ Autumn Leaves 00:51:05​ Witchcraft

00:55:39​ When I Fall in Love 01:00:35​ Peri’s Scope 01:03:49​ What Is This Thing Called Love? 01:08:25​ Spring Is Here

01:13:31​ Some Day My Prince Will Come 01:18:25​ Blue in Green

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Bill Evans Biography, Life, Interesting Facts

Bill Evans was born on August 16th, 1929. He earned his fame for being a brilliant jazz pianist. During his youth years, he got his first piano training from his mother. He later went on to school in Southeastern Louisiana University before joining Mannes School of Music. At the school of music, his area of focus was in composition.

He migrated to the New York City in 1955 and collaborated with George Russell, a bandleader. Three years later, he joined a group of six members headed by Miles Davis. The band group recorded Kind of Blue which was released in 1959. This album went on to become a commercial success while being given credits for leading best-selling jazz album ever. 

Early Life

Bill Evans was born on August 16th, 1929. His place of birth was in Plainfield, New Jersey. His parents were Mary and Harry Evans. Evans faced a difficult time when he was young as his father was an alcohol addict. Aside from this, he practiced gambling and frequently abused Evans’s mother. Evans had an elder brother named Harry. 

Evans began his piano lessons when he was only six years old. Together with his brother, Harry, they took piano lessons from Helen Leland. When he was aged 7, he took lessons for other musical instruments including violin, piccolo, and flute. These instruments would later have a profound impact on his expertise on the keyboard. With the experience that he had gained by the time he was 13 years old, Evans had the confidence to play in big events such as weddings. His pay rate was only $1 for an hour of play at this period. 

Career 

After completing his studies at Southeastern Louisiana University in 1950, Bill Evans continued with his performances in different concerts. Around this period, he also worked with one of the bands headed by Herbie Field. He went on a tour with them before later receiving a draft notice to join the army. He served in the army for three years. After this service, he was back to the city of New York where he could easily pursue his music career. He also joined Mannes College of Music where he studied musical composition for three semesters. At this time, he performed in small gigs including weddings and dances.

With time, he landed on better opportunities which gave him the advantage of showcasing his talent. 

During the 1950s, Evans partnered with a band headed by Miles Davis which consisted of six members. After playing for the band for some time, he joined the group in 1958. A year later, Kind Kind of Blue was recorded. This album recording was released in August the same year. It was a commercial success with the credits of being the best-selling album. 

Personal Life

Bill Evans tied the knot with Nenette Zazzara in 1973. Their marriage lasted for seven years and ended in 1980. The couple had a son named Evan. 

Death

Bill Evans passed away on September 15th, 1980. He was aged 51 at the time of his death. 

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Bach meets The Beatles

Bach meets the Beatles: “Nowhere Man”

Bach meets The Beatles: “Nowhere Man”. Variations in the style of J.S. Bach. John Bayless, piano.

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Bach meets the Beatles sheet music pdf

THE ART OF IMPROVISATION

Throughout the history of music improvisation has played an important role as a tool for the per­former to exhibit not only virtuosic technique but also a wide range of personal emotions. Taking a basic melody and spontaneously reworking, embellishing and developing it into something new and excitingly different is a rare talent that is not often seen today apart from the contemporary and jazz fields. What was once a necessary skill for a young artist has faded from importance in today’s musical world.

However, on this new recording we find John Bayless -scholar, composer, virtuoso … improviser. His creations draw on elements from many different styles of music and fuse them into something uniquely his. Whether he is playing Bach. Lenon and McCartney or Bayless you will find an imagination at work that is fresh and singular. The Art of Improvisation is back, and it may never be the same again!

“BACH MEETS THE BEATLES”

Imagine! What if these two revolutionary musical forces of all time were to meet face to face? What would happen? Would they talk about music? Play their latest compositions? Discuss philosophy? Since this association is impossible presented here are some of the most popular songs of The Beatles improvised as Johann Sebastian Bach might have.

The four pillars of Bach’s world were the Fugue. Canon, Chorale, and Chorale Prelude. All of these improvisations were built on these four forms. In most instances the lyrics helped define which of the four forms would b the most illuminating to the melody of each song. Then came the decision of which kind of mood should be portrayed. The use of counterpoint interacting between melody and harmony was essential in creating the ap­propriate mood to support each melody.

As the opening selection. “Imagine” is improvised in the style of a toccata, using melodic and rhythmic imitations to set the spirit of these inter­pretations.

The three-note melodic phrase in “All You Need ls Love” provides the chorale in this chorale prelude selection. The continuous sixteenth note accompaniment flows along while from time to time the Chorale melody appears. The strong melodic line in “Hey Jude” required an equally strong accompanying figure. The style and nobili­ty of the French Overtures helped inspire this im­provisation. The purity of the long, sorrowful line in “Because” reminded me of the slow movements of Bach’s concerti. The ensemble and voicing of this three-part counterpoint, plus the unexpected harmonic progressions, show the sophistication of The Beatles’ music.

The lyrics of “Let It Be” expressed a certain peace and tranquility. The beautiful, melodic line in “The Long And Winding Rod” reminded me of the strength and passion found in the chorales. The development of this improvisation uses the form of a Chorale Prelude, ending with another version of the previously improvised chorale.”Penny Lane” ends the first side in a lively, spirited “gigue.”

Side II opens with one of the most popular songs ever. ”Yesterday.” The opening phrases of the Brandenburg Concerto #J, seemed fitting and right for the introduction to this improvisation.

With Michelle l sought a dramatic contrast from the original smooth, romantic version of the song. The lyrics once again helped to set the mood and define the form of Nowhere Man. The undulating and brooding accompaniment gives support to this beautifully simple and pure melody. The drive and Hf e in the melodic line of And I Love Her gave me the essential idea for this improvisation.

An improvised canon, using a nine-note phrase from “Golden Slumbers” serves as the introduc­tion to this improvisation. In Bach’s music the repetition of a single note gives a certain kind of strength and direction to the phrase.

In the improvisation on Something the com bi na­tion of the harmonic strength, with the repeated notes in the melody, dictated a strict and grander interpreation.

The long lyrical and soaring melody in Here, There and Everywhere gave me a chance to set this improvisation in a simple and pastoral way. I find this one of the most complete and satisfying songs by The Beatles.

During the evolution and recording of this album, I felt a journey had been taken … through the music of the 60s and 70s, and through the life of one of the most thrilling and vibrant composers of all time. The finality and completeness of the Aria from the Goldberg Variations with the
humility of Imagine brought me a sense of fulfillment and Joy!

John Bayless

John Bayless was born and raised in Texas though his musical roots extend to New York, specifically Broadway, the home of the great theatrical composers George Gershwin. Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers, whom Bayless plays and loves. Bayless is also a trained classical pianist and composer, and a graduate of the Julliard School.

In 1980, he made his Carnegie Hall debut, performing his own piano concerto with the Or­chestra of New York. This led to future commis­sions from the Newport Music Festival and the University of Maryland Piano Competition.

In 1983, Bayless received his master’s degree from New York University’s prestigious program in musical theatre. Bayless’s first musical, Grand Duchy, was given a staged reading at New York’s Playwrights Horizon and will go into production in early 1985. Bayless has also recently been asked by London’s Royal Academy of Music to create a study program in improvisation.

Mr. Bayless has recently recorded two digital albums for Pro Arte, the other entitled Happy Birthday, Bach features improvisations on the
theme ‘Happy Birthday’ in the style of J.S. Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven and several other composers.

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The 100 most inspiring musicians of all Time

Johannes Brahms: The 100 most inspiring musicians of all time

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Johannes Brahms: The 100 most inspiring musicians of all time

Johannes Brahms (b. May 7, 1833, Hamburg [Germany]—d. April 3, 1897, Vienna, Austria-Hungary [now in Austria]) was a German composer and pianist of the Romantic period, who wrote symphonies, concerti,
chamber music, piano works, choral compositions, and more than 200 songs. Brahms was the great master of symphonic and sonata style in the second half of the 19th century. He can be viewed as the defender of the Classical tradition of Joseph Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven in a
period when the standards of this tradition were being questioned or overturned by the Romantics.

The Young Pianist and Music Director

The son of Jakob Brahms, an impecunious horn and double bass player, Johannes showed early promise as a pianist. He first studied music with his father. Between ages 14 and 16 Brahms earned money to help his family by playing in rough inns in the dock area of Hamburg and meanwhile composing and sometimes giving recitals. In 1850 he met Eduard Reményi, a Jewish Hungarian violinist, with whom he gave concerts and from whom he learned something of Roma (Gypsy) music—an influence that remained with him always.

The first turning point came in 1853, when he met the composer Robert Schumann, and an immediate friendship between the two composers resulted. Schumann wrote enthusiastically about Brahms in the periodical
Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, praising his compositions. The article created a sensation. From this moment Brahms was a force in the world of music, though there were always factors that made difficulties for him.

Chief among these factors was the nature of Schumann’s panegyric itself. There was already conflict between the “neo-German” school, dominated by Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner, and the more conservative elements, whose main spokesman was Schumann. The latter’s praise of Brahms
displeased the former, and Brahms himself, though kindly received
by Liszt, did not conceal his lack of sympathy with the self-conscious
modernists. He was therefore drawn into controversy, and most of the disturbances in his personal life arose from this situation.

Gradually Brahms came to be on close terms with the Schumann
household, and, when Schumann was first taken mentally ill in 1854, Brahms assisted Clara Schumann in managing her family.

Between 1857 and 1860 Brahms moved between the court of Detmold—where he taught the piano and conducted a choral society—and Göttingen, while in 1859 he was appointed conductor of a women’s choir in Hamburg. Such posts provided valuable practical experience and left
him enough time for his own work. At this point Brahms’s productivity increased, and, apart from the two Serenades for orchestra and the first String Sextet in B-flat Major (1858–60), he also completed his turbulent Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor (1854–58).

By 1861 he was back in Hamburg, and in the following year he made his first visit to Vienna, with some success; he settled in Vienna in 1863, assuming direction of the Singakademie, a fine choral society. There, despite a few failures and constant attacks by the Wagnerites, his music
was established, and his reputation grew steadily.

By 1872 he was principal conductor of the Society of Friends of Music (Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde), and for three seasons he directed the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

In between these two appointments in Vienna, Brahms’s work flourished and some of his most significant works were composed. The year 1868 witnessed the completion of his most famous choral work, Ein deutsches
Requiem (A German Requiem), which had occupied him since Schumann’s death. This work, based on biblical texts selected by the composer, made a strong impact at its first performance at Bremen on Good Friday, 1868. With the Requiem, which is still considered one of the most significant
works of 19th-century choral music, Brahms moved into the front rank of German composers.

Brahms was also writing successful works in a lighter vein. In 1869 he offered two volumes of Hungarian Dances for piano duet; these were brilliant arrangements of Roma tunes he had collected in the course of the years. Their success was phenomenal, and they were played all over the
world.

In 1868–69 he composed his Liebeslieder (Love Songs) waltzes, which were for vocal quartet and four-hand piano accompaniment and incorporated Viennese dance tunes. Some of his greatest songs were also written at this time.

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Maturity and Fame

By the 1870s Brahms was writing significant chamber works and was moving with great deliberation along the path to purely orchestral composition. In 1873, he offered the masterly orchestral version of his Variations on a Theme by Haydn. After this successful experiment, he felt ready to embark on the completion of his Symphony No. 1 in C Minor.
This magnificent work was completed in 1876 and first heard in the same year. Now that the composer had proved to himself his full command of the symphonic idiom, within the next year he produced his Symphony No. 2 in D Major (1877).

He let six years elapse before his Symphony No. 3 in F Major (1883). In its first three movements this work appears to be a comparatively calm and serene composition—until the finale, which presents a gigantic conflict of elemental forces. Again after only one year, Brahms’s last symphony, No. 4 in E Minor (1884–85), was begun. The symphony’s most important movement is once more the finale. Brahms took a simple theme he found in J.S. Bach’s Cantata No. 150 and developed it in a set of 30 highly intricate variations.

Gradually Brahms’s renown spread beyond Germany and Austria. Switzerland and The Netherlands showed true appreciation of his art, and Brahms’s concert tours to these countries as well as to Hungary and Poland won great acclaim. The University of Breslau (now the University of Wrocław, Poland) conferred an honorary degree on him in 1879.

The composer thanked the university by writing the Academic Festival Overture (1881) based on various German student songs. Among his other orchestral works at this time were the Violin Concerto in D Major (1878) and the Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major (1881).

By now Brahms’s contemporaries were keenly aware of the significance of his works, and people spoke of the “three great Bs” (meaning Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms), to whom they accorded the same rank of eminence. Yet there was a sizable circle of musicians who did not admit
Brahms’s greatness. Fervent admirers of the avant-garde composers of the day, most notably Liszt and Wagner, looked down on Brahms’s contributions as too old-fashioned and inexpressive.

Brahms remained in Vienna for the rest of his life. He resigned as director of the Society of Friends of Music in 1875, and from then on devoted his life almost solely to composition. When he went on concert tours, he conducted or performed (on the piano) only his own works. He maintained a few close personal friendships and remained a lifelong bachelor. During these years Brahms composed the Double Concerto in A Minor (1887) for violin and cello, the Piano Trio No. 3 in C Minor (1886), and the Violin Sonata in D Minor (1886–88). He also completed the first String Quintet in F Major (1882) and the second String Quintet in G Major (1890).

Final Years

In 1891 Brahms was inspired to write chamber music for the clarinet. He consequently composed the Trio for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (1891); the great Quintet for Clarinet and Strings (1891); and two Sonatas for Clarinet and Piano (1894). These works are beautifully adapted to the potentialities
of the wind instrument.

In 1896 Brahms completed his Vier ernste Gesänge (Four Serious Songs), for bass voice and piano, on texts from both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, a pessimistic work dealing with the vanity of all earthly things and welcoming death as the healer of pain and weariness. The
conception of this work arose from Brahms’s thoughts of Clara Schumann, whose physical condition had gravely deteriorated. On May 20, 1896, Clara died, and soon afterward Brahms himself was compelled to seek medical
treatment, in the course of which his liver was discovered to be seriously diseased. He appeared for the last time at a concert in March 1897, and in Vienna, in April 1897, he died of cancer.

Aims and Achievements

Brahms’s music ultimately complemented and counteracted the rapid growth of Romantic individualism in the second half of the 19th century. He was a traditionalist in the sense that he greatly revered the subtlety and power of movement displayed by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, with an added influence from Franz Schubert. The Romantic composers’ preoccupation with the emotional moment had created new harmonic vistas, but it had two inescapable consequences.

First, it had produced a tendency toward rhapsody that often resulted in a lack of structure. Second, it had slowed down the processes of music, so that Wagner had been able to discover a means of writing music that moved as slowly as his often-argumentative stage action. Many composers were thus decreasingly concerned to preserve the skill of taut, brilliant, and dramatic symphonic development that had so eminently distinguished the masters at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, culminating in Beethoven’s chamber music and symphonies.

Brahms was acutely conscious of this loss, repudiated it, and set himself to compensate for it in order to keep alive a force he felt strongly was far from spent. But Brahms was desirous not of reproducing old styles but of infusing the language of his own time with constructive power.

Thus his musical language actually bears little resemblance to Beethoven’s or even Schubert’s; harmonically it was much influenced by Schumann and even to some extent by Wagner. It is Brahms’s supple and masterful control of rhythm and movement that indeed distinguishes him from all his contemporaries. This power of movement stems partly from his reverence for music of the distant past, specifically for the polyphonic school of the 16th century, elements of which he incorporated into his work.

In his orchestral works Brahms displays an unmistakable and highly distinctive deployment of tone colour, especially in his use of woodwind and brass instruments and in his string writing, but the important thing about it is that colour is deployed, rather than laid on for its own sake. A
close relationship between orchestration and architecture dominates these works, with the orchestration contributing as much to the tonal colouring as do the harmonies and tonalities and the changing nature of the themes.
Brahms was peculiarly adapted to the more subtle aspects of the relation between orchestra and soloist, and he set himself to recover the depth and grandeur of the concerto idea.

He realized that the long introductory passage of the orchestra was the means of sharpening and deepening the complex relationship of orchestra to solo, especially when the time came for recapitulation, where an entirely new and often revelatory distribution of themes, keys, instrumentation,
and tensions was possible.

Brahms also was a masterly miniaturist, not only in many of his fine and varied songs but also in his cunningly wrought late piano works. As a song composer, he ranged from the complex and highly organized to the extremely simple, strophic type. His late piano music, most of which is of small dimension, has a quiet and intense quality of its own that renders the occasional outburst of angry passion the more potent.

Brahms’s musical range is finally attested by his choral music. A German Requiem, one of the choral masterpieces of its period, shows all his characteristics in this field together with an ability to integrate solo and tutti with the same kind of subtlety as in the concerti. The spaciousness
and grandeur of this work’s lines and the power of its construction
place Brahms’s underlying melancholy within thescope of a large, objective, nonreligious humane vision.

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The Best of Brahms

Track List

1. Hungarian Dance No 1 In G Minor 2. Hungarian Dance No 3 In F Major 03:07​ 3. Hungarian Dance No 5 In G Minor 05:31​ 4. Hungarian Dance No 5 In F Sharp Minor 07:53​ 5. Hungarian Dance No 6 In D Major 08:56​ 6. Hungarian Dance No 7 In F Major 12:24​ 7. Hungarian Dance No 10 In F Major 13:52​ 8. Symphony No 4 In E Minor Op. 98 – Allegro Non Troppo 15:44​ 9. Symphony No 4 In E Minor Op. 98 – Andante Moderato 28:23

10. Symphony No 4 In E Minor Op. 98 – Allegro Giocoso 39:54​ 11. Symphony No 4 In E Minor Op. 98 – Allegro 46:14​ 12. Symphony No 3 In F Op. 90 – Allegro Con Brio 57:06​ 13. Symphony No 3 In F Op. 90 – Andante 1:06:25​ 14. Symphony No 3 In F Op. 90 – Poco Allegretto 1:14:59​ 15. Symphony No 3 In F Op. 90 – Allegro 1:21:33​ 16. Waltz In A Minor Op. 39 No 14 1:30:30​ 17. Serenade No 2 In A Op. 16 – Allegro Moderato 1:32:54​ 18. Serenade No 2 In A Op. 16 – Scherzo, Vivace 1:41:16​ 19. Serenade No 2 In A Op. 16 – Adagio Non Troppo 1:43:53

20. Serenade No 2 In A Op. 16 – Quasi Minuetto 1:53:35​ 21. Serenade No 2 In A Op. 16 – Rondò 1:58:24 22. Cradle Song Brahms’ Lullaby Op. 49 N.4 2:04:37 23. Cradle Song Brahms’ Lullaby Op. 49 N.4 – Piano Version 2:05:45 24. Cradle Song Brahms’ Lullaby Op. 49 N.4 – String Quartet 2:06:52

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Bach meets The Beatles

Bach meets the Beatles: “Golden Slumbers”

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Bach meets the Beatles: “Golden Slumbers – You Never Give Your Money” – John Batless, piano

sheet music score download partitura partition spartiti noten 楽譜 망할 음악 ноты

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THE ART OF IMPROVISATION

Throughout the history of music improvisation has played an important role as a tool for the per­former to exhibit not only virtuosic technique but also a wide range of personal emotions. Taking a basic melody and spontaneously reworking, embellishing and developing it into something new and excitingly different is a rare talent that is not often seen today apart from the contemporary and jazz fields. What was once a necessary skill for a young artist has faded from importance in today’s musical world.

However, on this new recording we find John Bayless -scholar, composer, virtuoso … improviser. His creations draw on elements from many different styles of music and fuse them into something uniquely his. Whether he is playing Bach. Lenon and McCartney or Bayless you will find an imagination at work that is fresh and singular. The Art of Improvisation is back, and it may never be the same again!

“BACH MEETS THE BEATLES”

Imagine! What if these two revolutionary musical forces of all time were to meet face to face? What would happen? Would they talk about music? Play their latest compositions? Discuss philosophy? Since this association is impossible presented here are some of the most popular songs of The Beatles improvised as Johann Sebastian Bach might have.

the beatles bach sheet music pdf

The four pillars of Bach’s world were the Fugue. Canon, Chorale, and Chorale Prelude. All of these improvisations were built on these four forms. In most instances the lyrics helped define which of the four forms would b the most illuminating to the melody of each song. Then came the decision of which kind of mood should be portrayed. The use of counterpoint interacting between melody and harmony was essential in creating the ap­propriate mood to support each melody.

As the opening selection. “Imagine” is improvised in the style of a toccata, using melodic and rhythmic imitations to set the spirit of these inter­pretations.

The three-note melodic phrase in “All You Need ls Love” provides the chorale in this chorale prelude selection. The continuous sixteenth note accompaniment flows along while from time to time the Chorale melody appears. The strong melodic line in “Hey Jude” required an equally strong accompanying figure. The style and nobili­ty of the French Overtures helped inspire this im­provisation. The purity of the long, sorrowful line in “Because” reminded me of the slow movements of Bach’s concerti. The ensemble and voicing of this three-part counterpoint, plus the unexpected harmonic progressions, show the sophistication of The Beatles’ music.

The lyrics of “Let It Be” expressed a certain peace and tranquility. The beautiful, melodic line in “The Long And Winding Rod” reminded me of the strength and passion found in the chorales. The development of this improvisation uses the form of a Chorale Prelude, ending with another version of the previously improvised chorale.”Penny Lane” ends the first side in a lively, spirited “gigue.”

Side II opens with one of the most popular songs ever. ”Yesterday.” The opening phrases of the Brandenburg Concerto #J, seemed fitting and right for the introduction to this improvisation.

With Michelle l sought a dramatic contrast from the original smooth, romantic version of the song. The lyrics once again helped to set the mood and define the form of Nowhere Man. The undulating and brooding accompaniment gives support to this beautifully simple and pure melody. The drive and Hf e in the melodic line of And I Love Her gave me the essential idea for this improvisation.

An improvised canon, using a nine-note phrase from “Golden Slumbers” serves as the introduc­tion to this improvisation. In Bach’s music the repetition of a single note gives a certain kind of strength and direction to the phrase.

In the improvisation on Something the com bi na­tion of the harmonic strength, with the repeated notes in the melody, dictated a strict and grander interpreation.

The long lyrical and soaring melody in Here, There and Everywhere gave me a chance to set this improvisation in a simple and pastoral way. I find this one of the most complete and satisfying songs by The Beatles.

During the evolution and recording of this album, I felt a journey had been taken … through the music of the 60s and 70s, and through the life of one of the most thrilling and vibrant composers of all time. The finality and completeness of the Aria from the Goldberg Variations with the
humility of Imagine brought me a sense of fulfillment and Joy!

Categories
Rock & Pop Music

Bach’s Proglude in A minor for electric guitar and bass (with sheet music)

Bach’s Proglude in A minor for electric guitar and bass (with sheet music)

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proglude bach 
free sheet music pdf

Why jazzers love Bach?

“Bach’s music,” says the pianist Jacques Loussier, “is ideal for jazz improvisation. So many of the structures are similar, with patterns of 16 or 32 bars, and the left hand parts are very similar to jazz basslines.” Jacques Loussier – a career built on jazz Bach

More than any other individual musician, Loussier has managed to explore the connections between jazz and Bach in a career that stretches back to the 1950s, but his comments get to the heart of why J. S. Bach has always held such fascination for jazz players: namely form, structure and harmony.

Way back in the 1920s, the Harlem “stride” piano pioneers honed their skills on the classical repertoire and men like Fats Waller and James P. Johnson knew their Bach along with their Gershwin and Irving Berlin. Waller even recorded a classical pastiche of his song “Honeysuckle Rose” which he subtitled ”à la Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and Waller”.

As the modern jazz era came in, the most technically accomplished pianists also played Bach, and used his music as the basis for their improvisations, such as Bud Powell in “Bud On Bach” or, a little later, Bill Evans with “Valse” which is based on a Bach Siciliana for flute.

And thinking of woodwind, several jazz reed players, like the saxophonist Lee Konitz, used Bach’s Two-part inventions as practice material, the basis for classical duets, and a jumping-off point for improvisation.

And it’s that idea of Bach as a springboard, a jumping-off point that has most fascinated the current generation of jazz improvisers, such as US pianist Uri Caine.

He says, “Bach’s theme and variations ideas have a direct corollary with what we do as jazz musicians. The harmony that underpins the recurring structure is what all the variations are built on and that is how we improvise over standards.”

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J.S. Bach

Bach meets Jazz – Jacques Loussier plays BACH

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Bach meets Jazz – Jacques Loussier plays BACH

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bach jacques loussier jazz sheet music pdf

Jacques Loussier

Jacques Loussier (26 October 1934 – 5 March 2019) was a French pianist and composer. He arranged jazz interpretations of many of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, such as the Goldberg Variations. The Jacques Loussier Trio, founded in 1959, played more than 3,000 concerts and sold more than 7 million recordings—mostly in the Bach series.

Loussier composed film scores and a number of classical pieces, including a Mass, a ballet, and violin concertos. Loussier’s style is described as third stream, a synthesis of jazz and classical music, with an emphasis on improvisation.

When Loussier began applying jazz improvisation and swing to Johann Sebastian Bach’s exquisite symmetries, some jazz pundits and fans dismissed it as a betrayal of an African-American music’s expressive earthiness and blues roots, aimed at an audience that preferred its jazz pretty rather than passionate. And from the classical angle, observers were liable to perceive the young Frenchman’s work as little short of vandalism.

The New York Times critic John Rockwell’s review of a Loussier concert at Carnegie Hall in 1975 reflected that distaste when he proclaimed: “There is a certain sort of sensibility that is actively appalled by the very notion of ‘popularising’ Bach – or any classical composer, for that matter. This listener’s sensibility is one of those, and so he found the Tuesday evening performance at a sparsely attended Carnegie Hall by the Jacques Loussier Trio tiresome and offensive.”

Nonetheless, the success of concerts and recordings by Loussier and his Play Bach trio (originally formed with the eminent Paris jazz sidemen Pierre Michelot on bass and Christian Garros on drums) took off almost overnight from the group’s first appearances in 1959 – shifting millions of Play Bach recordings in the almost two-decade life of the original band.

The group’s suitably chilled-out, languidly hip treatment of Bach’s Air on the G String famously accompanied the Hamlet cigar company’s TV advertising from 1962, with cinema versions finally being banned at the end of the century, though these soundtracks did not include Michelot’s subsequent driving bass-walk and Loussier’s freewheeling improv theme-stretches.

Loussier, however, was no one-trick populist who had chanced on a hit formula and milked it. A piano virtuoso from early childhood, he attended the Conservatoire National de Musique in Paris from his mid-teens under a celebrated mentor – the classical pianist and educator Yves Nat – travelled in the Middle East and Latin America absorbing musical ideas in his early 20s, and composed scores for more than 60 films and TV shows. There was also the tireless touring of the Play Bach trio – and after its breakup, he worked on both acoustic and electronic projects at his own Studio Miraval in Provence.

Born in Angers, in western France, Loussier began piano lessons at the age of 10, and within a year was fascinated by the music of Bach. When he heard a piece from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena at 11, he took to playing it incessantly. “I was studying this piece and I just fell in love with it,” Loussier told an interviewer in 2003. “Then I found I loved to play the music, but add my own notes, expanding the harmonies and playing around with that music.”

In this, as Loussier was later to observe, he was not subverting Bach but paying his respects to an improvising tradition to which the composer also belonged, even if classical music’s subsequent assumptions preferred to bury that unruly element.

Loussier’s potential had been brought to Nat’s attention when he was 13, and Nat supplied him with practice projects that the boy would visit Paris every three months to demonstrate. At 16 he entered the conservatoire, financing his courses by playing jazz in the city’s bars.

In the mid-1950s Loussier then took off on his travels, which included Cuba, where he stayed for a year. Back home, he found work as an accompanist, to the singer and actor Catherine Sauvage and Charles Aznavour.

Loussier later recalled that in 1959 he had told Decca Records that he was a classical pianist and they said they already had plenty. Then he said he was a jazz pianist and they said they had plenty of those, too. “Finally I started to play some Bach with my improvisations and they said, ‘What is that? Why don’t we make a record of that?’ I was still doing it out of fun. I never thought the public would like it. I was wrong.”

With Michelot and Garros, and with the American chamber-musical Modern Jazz Quartet as a significant and celebrated inspiration, the Play Bach trio made four hugely successful Decca albums between 1960 and 1963, launched a performance schedule rarely numbering fewer than 150 shows a year worldwide, and expanded the repertoire to include double-tracked recordings of Loussier parts on organ and piano, and arrangements of Bach concertos.

In the midst of it all, Loussier was also a sought-after composer for film and TV. In 1978, weary of travelling, he wound the trio up and retired to Studio Miraval to explore composition more deeply, experiment with electronics and studio techniques, and play host and offer recording time to visiting rock stars including Pink Floyd, AC/DC and Sade.

He wrote the full-scale symphony Lumières (with the countertenor James Bowman, soprano Deborah Rees and a rock rhythm section on its Paris premiere), concertos for trumpet and violin, strings suites, a ballet score and the crossover fusion works Pulsion, Pagan Moon, and Pulsion Sous la Mer.

But Bach’s 1985 tercentenary had already tempted Loussier back to the piano stool. With the jazz/classical bassist Vincent Charbonnier, followed after illness in the 90s by the comparably virtuosic Benoit Dunoyer de Segonzac and the percussionist André Arpino, Loussier formed a more broadminded, genre-fluid and technically sophisticated version of the Play Bach trio, which if anything amplified just how creatively musical his original vision had been.

Recording for Telarc from 1996, Loussier returned to his beloved Bach, explored Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in improv conversations with Charbonnier and Arpino, with an affectionate nod to the Modern Jazz Quartet’s Django (1997), and Satie, with De Segonzac and Arpino (1998).

Interpretations of Ravel, Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin followed (with the last-named occasioning Loussier’s first solo piano album in his 70th birthday year, on which he breezily threw flamenco, gospel, calypso and stride-piano into the mix), and ambitious Bach homages taking on the Goldberg Variations and the Brandenburg Concertos.

In 2002, the pianist’s life took an unlikely turn when he embarked on a lawsuit against the rapper Eminem for allegedly stealing hooks from Pulsion for the track Kill You from the Marshall Mathers LP – a confrontation eventually settled out of court. In a conversation that year with the writer Sholto Byrnes, Loussier seemed mainly miffed that the Americans had not asked him first, and typically claimed: “I like good music whatever it is.” He later registered an interest in Eminem’s music.

Jazz reference books have not been so generous to Loussier, but, a true jazz improviser rather than an embellisher of the classics, he sidelined the snobberies from both sides in his early years. He paid tribute to the composers he loved with unmistakable and expert devotion, performing long enough to see his inclusive vision of a music with far fewer borders come to pass.

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Bach meets The Beatles

Bach meets the Beatles: “Imagine (Sinfonia)”

Bach meets The Beatles: “Image (Sinfonia)”. Variations in the style of J.S. Bach. John Bayless, piano.

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Bach meets the Beatles sheet music pdf

THE ART OF IMPROVISATION

Throughout the history of music improvisation has played an important role as a tool for the per­former to exhibit not only virtuosic technique but also a wide range of personal emotions. Taking a basic melody and spontaneously reworking, embellishing and developing it into something new and excitingly different is a rare talent that is not often seen today apart from the contemporary and jazz fields. What was once a necessary skill for a young artist has faded from importance in today’s musical world.

However, on this new recording we find John Bayless -scholar, composer, virtuoso … improviser. His creations draw on elements from many different styles of music and fuse them into something uniquely his. Whether he is playing Bach. Lenon and McCartney or Bayless you will find an imagination at work that is fresh and singular. The Art of Improvisation is back, and it may never be the same again!

“BACH MEETS THE BEATLES”

Imagine! What if these two revolutionary musical forces of all time were to meet face to face? What would happen? Would they talk about music? Play their latest compositions? Discuss philosophy? Since this association is impossible presented here are some of the most popular songs of The Beatles improvised as Johann Sebastian Bach might have.

The four pillars of Bach’s world were the Fugue. Canon, Chorale, and Chorale Prelude. All of these improvisations were built on these four forms. In most instances the lyrics helped define which of the four forms would b the most illuminating to the melody of each song. Then came the decision of which kind of mood should be portrayed. The use of counterpoint interacting between melody and harmony was essential in creating the ap­propriate mood to support each melody.

As the opening selection. “Imagine” is improvised in the style of a toccata, using melodic and rhythmic imitations to set the spirit of these inter­pretations.

The three-note melodic phrase in “All You Need ls Love” provides the chorale in this chorale prelude selection. The continuous sixteenth note accompaniment flows along while from time to time the Chorale melody appears. The strong melodic line in “Hey Jude” required an equally strong accompanying figure. The style and nobili­ty of the French Overtures helped inspire this im­provisation. The purity of the long, sorrowful line in “Because” reminded me of the slow movements of Bach’s concerti. The ensemble and voicing of this three-part counterpoint, plus the unexpected harmonic progressions, show the sophistication of The Beatles’ music.

The lyrics of “Let It Be” expressed a certain peace and tranquility. The beautiful, melodic line in “The Long And Winding Rod” reminded me of the strength and passion found in the chorales. The development of this improvisation uses the form of a Chorale Prelude, ending with another version of the previously improvised chorale.”Penny Lane” ends the first side in a lively, spirited “gigue.”

Side II opens with one of the most popular songs ever. ”Yesterday.” The opening phrases of the Brandenburg Concerto #J, seemed fitting and right for the introduction to this improvisation.

With Michelle l sought a dramatic contrast from the original smooth, romantic version of the song. The lyrics once again helped to set the mood and define the form of Nowhere Man. The undulating and brooding accompaniment gives support to this beautifully simple and pure melody. The drive and Hf e in the melodic line of And I Love Her gave me the essential idea for this improvisation.

An improvised canon, using a nine-note phrase from “Golden Slumbers” serves as the introduc­tion to this improvisation. In Bach’s music the repetition of a single note gives a certain kind of strength and direction to the phrase.

In the improvisation on Something the com bi na­tion of the harmonic strength, with the repeated notes in the melody, dictated a strict and grander interpreation.

The long lyrical and soaring melody in Here, There and Everywhere gave me a chance to set this improvisation in a simple and pastoral way. I find this one of the most complete and satisfying songs by The Beatles.

During the evolution and recording of this album, I felt a journey had been taken … through the music of the 60s and 70s, and through the life of one of the most thrilling and vibrant composers of all time. The finality and completeness of the Aria from the Goldberg Variations with the
humility of Imagine brought me a sense of fulfillment and Joy!

John Bayless

John Bayless was born and raised in Texas though his musical roots extend to New York, specifically Broadway, the home of the great theatrical composers George Gershwin. Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers, whom Bayless plays and loves. Bayless is also a trained classical pianist and composer, and a graduate of the Julliard School.

In 1980, he made his Carnegie Hall debut, performing his own piano concerto with the Or­chestra of New York. This led to future commis­sions from the Newport Music Festival and the University of Maryland Piano Competition.

In 1983, Bayless received his master’s degree from New York University’s prestigious program in musical theatre. Bayless’s first musical, Grand Duchy, was given a staged reading at New York’s Playwrights Horizon and will go into production in early 1985. Bayless has also recently been asked by London’s Royal Academy of Music to create a study program in improvisation.

Mr. Bayless has recently recorded two digital albums for Pro Arte, the other entitled Happy Birthday, Bach features improvisations on the
theme ‘Happy Birthday’ in the style of J.S. Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven and several other composers.

The best selection of classical sheet music is available for immediate download from our Library.

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Bach meets The Beatles

Bach meets the Beatles: “Here, There, And Everywhere”

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Bach meets the Beatles: “Here, There, And Everywhere” Variations in the style of Bach

Bach meets the Beatles sheet music pdf

THE ART OF IMPROVISATION

Throughout the history of music improvisation has played an important role as a tool for the per­former to exhibit not only virtuosic technique but also a wide range of personal emotions. Taking a basic melody and spontaneously reworking, embellishing and developing it into something new and excitingly different is a rare talent that is not often seen today apart from the contemporary and jazz fields. What was once a necessary skill for a young artist has faded from importance in today’s musical world.

However, on this new recording we find John Bayless -scholar, composer, virtuoso … improviser. His creations draw on elements from many different styles of music and fuse them into something uniquely his. Whether he is playing Bach. Lenon and McCartney or Bayless you will find an imagination at work that is fresh and singular. The Art of Improvisation is back, and it may never be the same again!

“BACH MEETS THE BEATLES”
Imagine! What if these two revolutionary musical forces of all time were to meet face to face? What would happen? Would they talk about music? Play their latest compositions? Discuss philosophy? Since this association is impossible presented here are some of the most popular songs of The Beatles improvised as Johann Sebastian Bach might have.

The four pillars of Bach’s world were the Fugue. Canon, Chorale, and Chorale Prelude. All of these improvisations were built on these four forms. In most instances the lyrics helped define which of the four forms would b the most illuminating to the melody of each song. Then came the decision of which kind of mood should be portrayed. The use of counterpoint interacting between melody and harmony was essential in creating the ap­propriate mood to support each melody.

As the opening selection. “Imagine” is improvised in the style of a toccata, using melodic and rhythmic imitations to set the spirit of these inter­pretations.

The three-note melodic phrase in “All You Need ls Love” provides the chorale in this chorale prelude selection. The continuous sixteenth note accompaniment flows along while from time to time the Chorale melody appears. The strong melodic line in “Hey Jude” required an equally strong accompanying figure. The style and nobili­ty of the French Overtures helped inspire this im­provisation. The purity of the long, sorrowful line in “Because” reminded me of the slow movements of Bach’s concerti. The ensemble and voicing of this three-part counterpoint, plus the unexpected harmonic progressions, show the sophistication of The Beatles’ music.

The lyrics of “Let It Be” expressed a certain peace and tranquility. The beautiful, melodic line in “The Long And Winding Rod” reminded me of the strength and passion found in the chorales. The development of this improvisation uses the form of a Chorale Prelude, ending with another version of the previously improvised chorale.”Penny Lane” ends the first side in a lively, spirited “gigue.”

Side II opens with one of the most popular songs ever. ”Yesterday.” The opening phrases of the Brandenburg Concerto #J, seemed fitting and right for the introduction to this improvisation.

With Michelle l sought a dramatic contrast from the original smooth, romantic version of the song. The lyrics once again helped to set the mood and define the form of Nowhere Man. The undulating and brooding accompaniment gives support to this beautifully simple and pure melody. The drive and Hf e in the melodic line of And I Love Her gave me the essential idea for this improvisation.

An improvised canon, using a nine-note phrase from “Golden Slumbers” serves as the introduc­tion to this improvisation. In Bach’s music the repetition of a single note gives a certain kind of strength and direction to the phrase.

In the improvisation on Something the com bi na­tion of the harmonic strength, with the repeated notes in the melody, dictated a strict and grander interpreation.

The long lyrical and soaring melody in Here, There and Everywhere gave me a chance to set this improvisation in a simple and pastoral way. I find this one of the most complete and satisfying songs by The Beatles.

During the evolution and recording of this album, I felt a journey had been taken … through the music of the 60s and 70s, and through the life of one of the most thrilling and vibrant composers of all time. The finality and completeness of the Aria from the Goldberg Variations with the
humility of Imagine brought me a sense of fulfillment and Joy!

John Bayless

John Bayless was born and raised in Texas though his musical roots extend to New York, specifically Broadway, the home of the great theatrical composers George Gershwin. Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers, whom Bayless plays and loves. Bayless is also a trained classical pianist and composer, and a graduate of the Julliard School.

In 1980, he made his Carnegie Hall debut, performing his own piano concerto with the Or­chestra of New York. This led to future commis­sions from the Newport Music Festival and the University of Maryland Piano Competition.

In 1983, Bayless received his master’s degree from New York University’s prestigious program in musical theatre. Bayless’s first musical, Grand Duchy, was given a staged reading at New York’s Playwrights Horizon and will go into production in early 1985. Bayless has also recently been asked by London’s Royal Academy of Music to create a study program in improvisation.

Mr. Bayless has recently recorded two digital albums for Pro Arte, the other entitled Happy Birthday, Bach features improvisations on the
theme ‘Happy Birthday’ in the style of J.S. Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven and several other composers.

The best selection of classical sheet music is available for immediate download from our Library.

Categories
Best Classical Music

Debussy 1ère Arabesque avec partition / with sheet music

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Debussy 1ère Arabesque avec partition / with sheet music

debussy sheet music score download partitura partition spartiti

Download the best classical sheet music from our Library.

Claude Debussy: The Velvet Revolution

Claude Debussy died a century ago, but his music has not grown old. Bound only lightly to the past, it floats in time. As it coalesces, bar by bar, it appears to be improvising itself into being—which is the effect Debussy wanted. After a rehearsal of his orchestral suite “Images,” he said, with satisfaction, “This has the air of not having been written down.” In a conversation with one of his former teachers, he declared, “There is no theory. You merely have to listen. Pleasure is the law.”

To mark the centenary of Debussy’s death, which fell in March, two handsome boxed sets of his complete works have been issued. They befit a man who treasured pretty things. One, from the Deutsche Grammophon label, is decorated with Jacques-Émile Blanche’s portrait of the composer, in which he assumes an aristocratic, lapel-grasping pose. The other, from Warner Classics, displays Hokusai’s woodblock print “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa,” which, at Debussy’s request, was reproduced on the cover of one of his most celebrated scores, “La Mer.”

Physical recordings are no longer a fashionable way of listening to music, but you will probably get closer to Debussy if you shut down the Internet and give yourself wholly to his world. The D.G. set has the libretto of his only finished opera, “Pelléas et Mélisande,” and the texts of his large output of songs—necessary resources in approaching an acutely literary composer whom Stéphane Mallarmé and Marcel Proust recognized as an equal.

It is best to start where Pierre Boulez said modern music was born: with the ethereal first notes of the orchestral tone poem “Prelude to ‘The Afternoon of a Faun.’ ” Debussy wrote it between 1892 and 1894, in response to the famous poem by Mallarmé. The score begins with what looks like an uncertain doodle on the part of the composer. A solo flute slithers down from C-sharp to G-natural, then slithers back up; the same figure recurs; then there is a songful turn around the notes of the E-major triad.

Yet, in the fourth bar, when more instruments enter—two oboes, two clarinets, a horn, and a rippling harp—they ignore the flute’s offering of E. Instead, they recline into a lovely chord of nowhere, a half-diminished seventh of the type that Wagner placed at the outset of “Tristan und Isolde.” This leads to a lush dominant seventh on B-flat, which ought to resolve to E-flat, but doesn’t. Harmonies distant from one another intermingle in an open space. Most striking is the presence of silence. The B-flat harmonies are framed by bar-long voids. This is sound in repose, listening to its own echo.

Debussy accomplished something that happens very rarely, and not in every lifetime: he brought a new kind of beauty into the world. In 1894, when “Faun” was first performed, its language was startling but not shocking: it caused no scandal, and was accepted by the public almost at once.

Debussy engineered a velvet revolution, overturning the extant order without upheaval. His influence proved to be vast, not only for successive waves of twentieth-century modernists but also in jazz, in popular song, and in Hollywood. When both the severe Boulez and the suave Duke Ellington cite you as a precursor, you have done something singular.

The music is easy to love but hard to explain. The shelf of books about Debussy is not large, and every scholar who addresses him faces the challenge of analyzing an artist to whom analysis was abhorrent. The latest addition to that shelf is Stephen Walsh’s “Debussy: A Painter in Sound” (Knopf), which places proper emphasis on Debussy’s myriad links to other art forms.

The composer may have been the first in history to become a fully modern-minded artist, joining a community of writers and painters, borrowing ideas and lending them in turn. Admittedly, before Debussy there was Wagner, whose impact was sufficiently seismic that the term “Wagnerism” had to be coined to describe it. With Wagner, though, the influence tended to go in one direction: outward. Debussy was receptive. He saw, he read, he pondered, and he transformed the ineffable into sound.

“He was a very, very strange man,” the soprano Mary Garden said. With his piercing eyes and jutting forehead, he could make a rough first impression—like “a proud Calabrian bandit,” according to the pianist Ricardo Viñes. François Lesure, the author of the definitive French-language biography of Debussy, portrays him as “withdrawn, unsociable, taciturn, skittish, susceptible, distant, shy.” He was said to be “catlike and solitary.”

He “lived in a kind of haughty misanthropy, behind a rampart of irony.” He had a tendency toward mendacity in his professional and personal relationships. He was conscious enough of his limitations: “Those around me persist in not understanding that I have never been able to live in a real world of people and things.”

Debussy was born in the Paris suburbs in 1862, to an impoverished family. His father, Manuel, held a string of jobs, including china-shop owner, travelling salesman, and print worker. His mother, Victorine, was a seamstress. In the period of the Paris Commune, in 1871, Manuel served in the revolutionary forces, as a captain, and when the Commune was defeated he spent more than a year in prison.

Fortuitously, when Manuel told Charles de Sivry, another inmate, about his son’s musical interests, Sivry mentioned that his mother, Antoinette Mauté, was a pianist. Mauté, a well-connected woman who was said to have studied with Chopin, began teaching the boy, and helped to arrange his admission to the Paris Conservatory, in 1872. Another notable thing about Mauté is that her daughter Mathilde had the misfortune of being married to Paul Verlaine. At the time, that ill-fated couple was living with Mauté, and Arthur Rimbaud, soon to become Verlaine’s lover, was an increasing source of tension. Although Debussy never spoke of meeting either Verlaine or Rimbaud, he must have been at least vaguely aware of the chaos in the household.

At the conservatory, Debussy was a restless student, exasperating his teachers and fascinating his schoolmates. When confronted with the fundamentals of harmony and form, he asked why any systems were needed. He had little trouble mastering academic exercises, and, after two attempts, he won the Prix de Rome, a traditional stepping stone to a successful compositional career.

But in his early vocal pieces, and in his legendarily mesmerizing improvisations at the piano, he jettisoned rules that had been in place for hundreds of years. Familiar chords appeared in unfamiliar sequences. Melodies followed the contours of ancient or exotic scales. Forms dissolved into textures and moods. An academic evaluation accused him of indulging in Impressionism—a label that stuck.

Perhaps Debussy’s central insight was about the constricting effect of the standard major and minor scales. Why not use the old modes of medieval church music? Or the differently arrayed and tuned scales found in non-Western traditions? Or the whole-tone scale, which divided the octave into equal intervals? Debussy had a particular fondness for the natural harmonic series—the spectrum of overtones that arise from a vibrating string. If you pinch a taut string in the middle, its pitch goes up an octave. If you pinch it at successively smaller fractions, the basic intervals of conventional Western harmony emerge. So far, so good: but what about the notes further out in the series?

These are more difficult to assimilate. In the chain of intervals derived from a C, you encounter a tone somewhere near B-flat and another in the vicinity of F-sharp. Debussy favored a mode that has become known as the acoustic scale, which mimics the overtone series by raising the fourth degree (F-sharp) and lowering the seventh (B-flat). That those notes correspond to blue notes helps to explain Debussy’s appeal to jazz musicians.

Debussy had the prejudices typical of his time, and never thought too deeply about the cultures that he sampled. Nevertheless, he knew to look outside the classical sphere for nourishment. At the Paris Exposition of 1889, he heard a gamelan ensemble, which made Western harmonies sound to him like “empty phantoms of use to clever little children.” Those first measures of “Afternoon of a Faun” capture Debussy’s breadth of vision: first the call of the faun, which feels primal and uncomposed, and then that sumptuous chord on B-flat, which has no need to resolve, because it is complete in itself, a chord of overtones resting on its fundamental.

Debussy’s rejection of the musical status quo was fuelled by his jealous love of poetry and painting. The most revelatory experience I’ve had with the composer in recent years was not in the concert hall but in a museum: an exhibition entitled “Debussy, Music, and the Arts,” which was mounted at the Musée de l’Orangerie, in Paris, in 2012. To turn from the manuscript of “Faun” to a copy of Mallarmé’s poem, and then to see on the walls a Whistler seascape and Hokusai’s “Great Wave,” was to feel Debussy’s synesthetic kick. For him, music had fallen behind: it had nothing that rivalled free verse in poetry, the drift toward abstraction in painting, and the investigation of mystical spheres that was happening across the arts.

Poetry spurred Debussy’s earliest breakthroughs. His individual voice materializes in settings of Paul Bourget, Théodore de Banville, Baudelaire, Verlaine, and Mallarmé—poets who ranged from Parnassian classicism to Symbolist esotericism. Like a hunter chasing an elusive quarry, Debussy repeatedly tried to capture the eerie stillness of Verlaine’s “En Sourdine”: “Calm in the half-light / Made by the tall branches, / Let our love be imbued / With deep silence.”

As Walsh observes, Debussy’s first attempts, from 1882, are thick with Wagnerian harmony. A version from a decade later is spare and piercing, all excess expunged. Debussy is ready to compose “Afternoon of a Faun,” which arose when Mallarmé asked him to contribute to a theatrical version of his poem. (No production resulted.) “Inert, all burns in this savage hour,” the poem reads, making oblique mention of “him who searches for the la”—the note A. This is the atmosphere of Debussy’s opening, with its charged stasis and its chords of resonance.

The visual arts proved an equally important fund of inspiration, although the Impressionist label has perpetuated the erroneous notion that Debussy tried to do in music what Monet, Renoir, and Degas did in painting. Those artists were in his field of vision, but the rush of brushwork that defines Impressionist painting—the erasure of the clean line in pursuit of a hazier reality—is alien to Debussy’s crystalline technique.

Elusive but never vague, he is closer in spirit to the Symbolist movement, with its vivid evocations of unreal realms, and to the fable-bright world of Les Nabis. He also looked to the Pre-Raphaelites—“La Damoiselle Élue,” a pivotal early cantata, is based on Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s poem “The Blessed Damozel”—and to the semi-abstract seascapes of J. M. W. Turner, which forecast the tumult of “La Mer.”

The culmination of this first phase of Debussy’s revolution is “Pelléas et Mélisande,” an opera so unlike its predecessors that it effectively inaugurated a new genre of modernist music theatre. A tale of two half-brothers who fall in love with the same mysterious maiden, it is based on the eponymous play by the Belgian Symbolist Maurice Maeterlinck, who had a fin-de-siècle vogue before largely falling out of sight.

Maeterlinck is worth revisiting—his elliptical dialogue looks ahead to the work of Samuel Beckett. Debussy, facing the gnomic text of “Pelléas,” made the radical decision to set it line by line, without recourse to a versifying librettist. This had been done before, notably in Russian opera, but Debussy achieved an unprecedented merger of music with an advanced literary aesthetic. In the wake of “Pelléas” came Strauss’s “Salome” and “Elektra,” Berg’s “Wozzeck” and “Lulu,” and Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s “Die Soldaten.”

“Pelléas” engenders its own world on the first page of the score. In an essay in the new scholarly anthology “Debussy’s Resonance” (University of Rochester Press), Katherine Bergeron indicates how this happens. In the first four bars, bassoons, cellos, and double basses make a stark, columnar sound that conjures the forest in which the drama begins. It is, Bergeron writes, an evocation of “dim antiquity, carving out a fragment of plainsong in stolid half notes.” She continues, “The figure suggests an immense murmur, or an ancient cosmic sigh, whose sheer weight draws it to the bottom of the orchestra. Then it vanishes. A different music takes its place, sounding high in the winds, its bass voice a tritone away. With its more articulate rhythm and brighter timbre, the melody sounds a sort of anxious trill: indecisive, edgy, almost dissonant.”

This second motif is associated with Golaud, who ends up killing his half-brother, Pelléas. Golaud, Bergeron observes, seems strikingly disconnected from the forest around him. We hear not only two distinct textures but the gap between them. This defining gesture is painterly at heart: a single stroke of the brush turns the remainder of the canvas into resonant space.

The première of “Pelléas,” in 1902, established Debussy as the dominant French composer of his time. He became a trend, a “school”: critics spoke of “Debussystes” and “Debussysme.” For a man accustomed to thinking of himself as a loner, the fame was disconcerting. His life was further complicated by personal chaos, largely of his own making. His first marriage, to the fashion model Lilly Texier, fell apart when he began an affair with the singer Emma Bardac. In 1904, Texier attempted suicide; the affair became public, and Debussy lost many friends. He subsequently married Bardac. That relationship, too, was troubled, although it lasted until his death. “An artist is, all in all, a detestable, inward-facing man,” Debussy wrote to Texier in 1904, as if brutal candor somehow excused his behavior.

In this period, Debussy took up a second career, as a music critic, delivering a stream of prickly, contrarian opinions that seemed almost designed to increase his isolation. Beethoven wrote badly for the piano, he proclaimed: “With a few exceptions, his works should have been allowed to rest.” Wagner was a literary genius but no musician. Gluck was pompous and artificial. There was a method to this crankiness: Debussy was attacking the tendency to worship the past at the expense of the present. In a later interview, he said that he actually admired Beethoven and Wagner, but refused to “admire them uncritically, just because people have told me that they are masters.”

Debussy struggled to come up with a successor to “Pelléas.” His list of contemplated operas included a setting of Pierre Louÿs’s “Aphrodite”; an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”; and works on topics as various as Siddhartha, Orpheus, the Oresteia, Don Juan, Romeo and Juliet, and Tristan and Yseult (“a subject which has not as yet been treated,” Debussy said, impishly).

Not all these ideas were serious; Debussy had a bad habit of seeking advances for projects that he had little intention of completing. He did, however, expend considerable energy on a pair of operas inspired by Edgar Allan Poe: a comedy, based on “The Devil in the Belfry,” and a tragedy, based on “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Enough sketches for the latter exist that the scholar Robert Orledge has been able to make a stylish and often convincing reconstruction, which the Pan Classics label recorded in 2016, alongside a less persuasive version of the “Belfry” material.

If Debussy’s operatic path remained largely blocked, he found new fluency in the production of instrumental scores: the three sets of “Images” for piano and for orchestra, the two books of Preludes for solo piano, “La Mer,” and the dance score “Jeux.” In this pervasively dazzling body of music, Symbolist gloom gives way to glowing new colors and a fresh rhythmic punch. Popular influences come to the fore: vaudeville tunes, circus marches, cabaret, Iberian dances, ragtime.

While exploring the D.G. Debussy box, the richer of the two collections, I found myself fixated on Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli’s casually immaculate rendering of “Reflets dans l’Eau,” from the first book of “Images.” Michelangeli’s recording of “Images,” made in 1971, is rightly regarded as one of the greatest piano records ever made. “Reflets” begins with eight bars confined to the key of D-flat major, or, more precisely, to the scale associated with that key. Chords drawn from those seven notes lounge indolently across the keyboard. In the ninth bar, though, the work goes gorgeously haywire.

Extraneous notes invade the inner voices, even as a D-flattish upper line is maintained. Pinprick dissonances disrupt the sense of a tonal center, and the music collapses into harmonic limbo, in the form of a rolled chord of fourths. This is Debussyan atonality, which predates Schoenberg’s and is very different in spirit: not a lunge into the unknown but a walk on the wild side. We stroll back home with a descending string of chords that defy brief description: sevenths of various kinds, diminished sevenths, dominant sevenths, and what, in jazz, is called the minor major seventh.

Michelangeli, who admired the jazz pianist Bill Evans and was admired by Evans in turn, plays this whole stretch of music as if he were hunched over a piano in a smoke-filled club, at one in the morning, sometime during the Eisenhower Administration. Two bars later, we are back in D-flat—an even more restricted version of it, on the ancient pentatonic scale. Some kind of bending of the musical space-time continuum has occurred, and we are only sixteen bars in.

Debussy is often stereotyped as an artist of motionless atmospheres, but he was a radical in rhythm as well as in harmony. I’ve also become mildly obsessed by a few bars in the propulsive final movement of “La Mer,” entitled “Dialogue of the Wind and the Sea,” which is structured around successive iterations of a simple theme of narrow falling intervals: A to G-sharp, A-sharp to G-sharp. As in “Afternoon of a Faun,” an idea remains largely fixed while the context around it undergoes kaleidoscopic changes. First the theme sounds in the winds, over rapidly pulsing lower strings; then it hovers in an ambience of luminous calm; then it takes on an impassioned, quasi-Romantic character in the violins.

The fourth iteration never fails to make me want to leap from my chair. The downward-sighing theme is back in the winds, but it floats above a multilayered texture in which rhythms and accents are landing every which way: scurrying triplets in the strings, horns sounding on the fourth beat of the bar, piercing grace notes in the piccolo, and a curious oompah section comprised of timpani, cymbals, and bass drum. Most of the instruments are dancing to the side of the beat.

The net result of all this layering is an irresistible sense of buoyancy. Particularly striking is a galloping pattern in the strings—four rapid hoofbeats endlessly recurring. Debussy liked the work of the British painter and illustrator Walter Crane, and I wonder whether “La Mer” might have something to do with Crane’s 1892 painting “Neptune’s Horses,” in which phantom beasts materialize from a cresting wave.

The D.G. box includes two performances of “La Mer”: one with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra, under Leonard Bernstein, and one with the Berlin Philharmonic, under Herbert von Karajan. Both make an impressive noise at the climaxes, although they fall prey to an aggrandizing tendency noted by the scholar Simon Trezise, in a book-length study of “La Mer.” Since Toscanini, Trezise argues, conductors have made “La Mer” an “orchestral showpiece of the first order,” rather than a complexly layered conception in which foreground and background merge.

Trezise rightly draws attention to pioneering recordings by the Italian conductor Piero Coppola, in which the strings are restrained in favor of pungent winds. That leanness and a vibrancy of color reëmerge in a 2012 rendition of “La Mer” by Jos van Immerseel and the ensemble Anima Eterna Brugge, which uses instruments from Debussy’s era.

Still, I cherish most the various recordings made by Boulez, who dedicated himself to banishing all sentimental mists from Debussy’s music, thereby exposing its modernity. Regrettably, Boulez’s 1995 reading with the Cleveland Orchestra is missing from the D.G. box, but the set does include his staggeringly precise account of “Jeux.” In the finale of “La Mer,” Boulez’s meticulous attention to rhythmic subtleties redoubles the music’s kinetic energy. When he led the New York Philharmonic in “La Mer” in 1992—his final appearance with that ensemble—the waves broke on the ears with cold, lashing force.

In 1913, Debussy arrived at the inevitable moment when he no longer occupied the vanguard. That year, the Ballets Russes unleashed Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.” Debussy marvelled at Stravinsky’s invention, but felt uneasy about his younger colleague’s ruthless brilliance. “Primitive music with all modern conveniences” was his wry comment on the “Rite.” The advent of full-on atonality in the music of Schoenberg and his pupils left Debussy cold. He loved the strange but not the harsh.

As Europe devolved into barbarism in the early years of the First World War, Debussy adopted a decorous, formally controlled style that looked back to the aristocratic poise of the French Baroque. With this unexpected swerve, he was following the advice he gave to his stepson, to “distrust the path that your ideas make you take.” As Walsh points out, Debussy’s self-distrust considerably slowed his productivity, as he tested “every chord and chord sequence, every rhythm, every colour for their precise effect.”

In the summer of 1915, Debussy embarked on a cycle of six sonatas for different groups of instruments—a telling gesture, since up to this point he had largely ignored the received forms of classical tradition. In a burst of creativity, he completed two of them in a matter of weeks: the Cello Sonata and the Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp. A Violin Sonata followed. He considered these works a “secret homage” to French soldiers fallen in battle. In a patriotic mood, he signed them “Claude Debussy, French musician.” They forecast the West’s turn toward neoclassicism in the postwar period, not least in Stravinsky’s ever-evolving, fashion-setting œuvre. Yet Debussy avoided intellectual irony or self-consciousness. He saw himself as restoring the beauty that had been destroyed in the war.

The Harmonia Mundi label has added to the welcome flood of Debussy on disk with its own Centenary Edition, and one of its finest offerings is a survey of those three sonatas. Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov play the Violin Sonata; Jean-Guihen Queyras and Javier Perianes undertake the Cello Sonata; and the flutist Magali Mosnier, the violist Antoine Tamestit, and the harpist Xavier de Maistre give a pristine performance of the sonata dedicated to their instruments.

That piece is sometimes so sparing in its application of notes to the page that it hardly seems to exist. The score contains such indications as “dying away” and “as delicately as possible.” This is music suffused with pale light; each terse, tender phrase seems aware of its own impermanence.

Debussy had found a new path—beyond Symbolism, beyond modernism. One can only wonder what might have followed, for his life came to a grim end. In 1915, he was given a diagnosis of rectal cancer and underwent an operation that had limited success. His final years were horrible. He suffered from incontinence and stopped leaving the house. He died as German forces were shelling Paris.

Afterward, his twelve-year-old daughter, called Chouchou, wrote a heartbreaking letter to her half-brother: “I saw him again one last time in that horrible box—He looked happy, oh so happy.” Chouchou died the following year, of diphtheria—a fate of which Debussy, blessedly, had no inkling. She may have been the only person he ever loved without reserve.