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Debussy: Chamber Music Kuijken Ensemble

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The Kuijken Ensemble has "listened" to the music as it stands in the score with this coherent, true to the original text interpretation.

Should the chamber music of the early 20th and late 19th century be played on "original instruments"? What seems to be overly ambitious on first glance makes total sense when tried on Claude Debussy's chamber music. Belgium's Kuijken Ensemble has recorded this, now re-released album (from 2000) of Debussy's narrow chamber music works almost entirely on historical instruments: the string quartet in G minor (from 1893) the cello sonata (1915), the sonata for flute, viola and harp (1916), the violin sonata (1916/1917) and the well known "Syrinx" for solo flute (1913). These are definitely not strictly "historical" recordings, as explained by Sigiswald Kuijken in the accompanying leaflet, but only the consistent application of "listening fundamentally to what comes directly from the score". The final result is clearly not "necessarily modern" (or even edifyingly romantic), but it is significantly different to most other recordings. Sigiswald Kuijken (violin and viola), his brother Wieland (cello) and Barthold (flute) and his children Veronica (violin), Sara (viola), Piet (piano) and Sophie Hallynck (harp) chose a softer approach to their interpretations, avoiding rough tempo and melody changes. To borrow from another form of art – they stay within the colour palette of impressionism, and that does wonderful things for the music itself. The homongenous playing of this "family company" and the wonderful sound of these recordings are additional bonus points for this thoroughly accomplished album.

Salvatore Pichireddu | Jan 21, 2016
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