ART IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OF ALL LIES
These words by Claude Debussy perfectly encapsulate the essence of Images oubliées: an intimate project in which our voices as artists make their way through the composer’s work, creating a rich palette of colours. We specifically chose to arrange a selection of Debussy’s works for piano (or two pianos), generally reserved for rare full-cycle performances. These somewhat forgotten opuses are veritable gems of composition and ingenuity; even individually, they effortlessly evoke Debussy’s grandeur, attesting to the genius he was.
Claude Debussy’s Cello Sonata, an unquestioned masterpiece of chamber music, is a remarkable contribution to the repertoire for the cello. With the arrangement techniques showcased in this recording, one can only imagine the new colours and textures Debussy would have invented through combining them with the rich sonic potential of the instrument. Our arrangements were created in this very train of thought: our goal is to amplify and extrapolate atmospheres already suggested in Debussy’s compositions. The cello, a contrasting but complementary ally to the piano, is able to sustain notes without losing intensity, and can vibrate and colour the intonation of each note. Additionally, to reimagine the auditory vocabulary in the compositions proposed here, the cello explores glissando techniques, as well as pizzicati and harmonics. Adapting a solo-instrument work for a chamber duet can be a transformative experience, allowing Debussy’s music to speak differently. At times intimate, at times grandiose, the evocative power of these compositions is inevitably altered, as they not only recount their own stories, but also reflect the relationship between the musicians imparting them..
This program deliberately spans the near-entirety of Debussy’s lifetime, covering a wide range of styles and inspirations associated with him. His existence—rich in turmoil and emotions—is fascinating, and is a testament to numerous difficult situations that can be compared with the challenges one may experience in contemporary society. Hence, each work featured in this project becomes a glimpse into time, a window into a specific period or moment in the composer’s life.
Stéphane Tétreault & Olivier Hébert-Bouchard