Throughout 2012 there have been many events celebrating the 150th anniversary of French composer Claude Debussy. I confess I haven’t been to any but have enjoyed reading all about them via various blogs and articles. So I decided that I should rectify this shortcoming and attend at least one Debussy recital before the end of the year.
Pianist Lucy Parham’s concert at the Wigmore Hall as part of the London Piano Series on December 30th, fits the bill perfectly and will no doubt be a wonderful way to end 2012. The concert is entitled Rêverie – The life and loves of Claude Debussy. Lucy offers several themed evenings in her repertoire focusing on particular composer’s lives, interspersing readings with piano music. She has toured the country presenting concerts exploring the lives of Clara and Robert Schumann (Beloved Clara), Liszt and Chopin, and she is always accompanied by various high profile actors. For this recital at the Wigmore Hall, Lucy will be joined by heart-throb Dominic West (Winner BAFTA Best Actor 2012 and star of The Wire and The Hour).
I’ve always been a big fan of the words and music combination; they seemingly compliment each other perfectly. Many composers have written Melodramas over the years (a spoken story set to music) and I have thoroughly enjoyed performing many of them (frequently taking both the voice and piano roles together!).
Lucy’s recital goes one step further juxtaposing often well-known piano works with letters and scripts (usually written by Lucy) vividly depicting the composer’s lives and, as in the case of Rêverie, Debussy’s loves too. According to Lucy’s programme notes ‘A crucial element of Debussy’s complex intellectual and emotional world was an entangled love life that brought illicit trysts in Jersey, a brush with a revolver and even a suicide attempt’. All exciting stuff! The actor brings the composer’s character to life and allows the audience a much deeper knowledge of the composer’s life and background.
Rêverie contains many piano favourites such as Clair de Lune, Rêverie, Girl with the Flaxen Hair, Golliwogg’s Cake Walk, Poissons d’Or, Reflets dans l’eau, Arabesque No. 1, Jardins sous la pluie, the Etudes and L’isle joyeuse. If you are a Debussy fan then this recital is a must but even if you’re not you will probably learn far more about the composer in this setting than the usual concert experience offers.
If you would like tickets you can buy them here. If you would like to hear more about Lucy’s life and career then you can enjoy my Classical Conversation with her here on my blog tomorrow. See you at the concert!
Photos courtesy of www.wigmore-hall.org.uk