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April 26, 2024 Artist Image

« CLAUDE DEBUSSY, MUSICIEN FRANÇAIS. »

This famous signature we can find on the composer’s manuscripts from 1915 onwards deeply pervades the selection of works on this album, the second opus in our project Images oubliées, focused on the genius of Claude Debussy.

Through Images retrouvées, this new portal to Debussy’s vast contribution to the piano repertoire, we can delve deeper into the composer’s true character: patriotic, romantic, curious, thoughtful, and perhaps above all, hungry for new ideas. Each work on this album opens a window onto a specific moment in Debussy’s life and career, spanning almost all his creative years—from the age of 22 to the year of his death. In this music we have arranged here for cello and piano, our sense of beauty blends with that of Debussy, giving his music a new range of tone colours while remaining faithful to two of his other great talents: arranging and orchestrating.

Debussy is known for his interest in transcription. For several of his orchestral works, he himself created a piano reduction. These reductions were used in various contexts, serving, for example, as a rehearsal part for a singer or corps de ballet; to enjoy more popularity across diverse audiences; or to have the work performed several times or in different settings, at the request of a patron or pupil or friend (most of the time to be performed by the latter).

On the other hand, Debussy often entrusted the orchestration of his own works to colleagues once he had completed the original piano versions—André Caplet, Henri Büsser and Maurice Ravel orchestrated several of them. His openness to collaboration was our source of inspiration to carry on the tradition and take our adaptations further, not only by creating a new chamber music idiom for these instrumental solo pieces, but also by arranging them based on the period of Debussy’s life in which they were composed. As we move closer to the latter years of Debussy’s writing, his cello language becomes increasingly complex, testifying to both his inventiveness and the great technical knowledge of the instrument that he learned to master over the course of his career.

Stéphane Tétreault & Olivier Hébert-Bouchard

THE REVIEWS

These dextrous arrangements of Debussy solo piano music cast the works in gorgeous new light. The cello is never overbearing, instead contributing complimentary colours. Clair de lune, so well-known in its original iterarion, is both warm and eerie. A triumph.

Charlotte SmithBBC Music Magazine

One should neither snub the fringe repertoire nor sulk at the pleasure of listening to a piece that has been played over and over again. When talented musicians treat the text with such care, great things are possible.

Jean-Frédéric Hénault-RondeauPANm360

Stéphane Tétreault and Olivier Hébert-Bouchard offer us one of the finest recent albums devoted to the genius of Debussy. Without distorting his spirit, they are offering us a magnificent alternative to his work. We will never hear Clair de Lune the same way again.

René F AuclairLe Parnasse Musical

TARANTELLE STYRIENNE (DANSE), L. 69