1915 in Music

My music reviews for music published in 1915.


1. Claude Debussy: Etudes (10/10)

To my ears, the Etudes really don’t sound that difficult on first listen, but then I can’t even play “Heart and Soul” on a piano. That’s a joke, that.

The Etudes are apparently some of the hardest to play in the repertoire, but I wouldn’t know anything about that. I do know that they sound like few Etudes before them (at least those that I’ve heard). And the Images are similarly out of step with tradition, albeit more so. Here are piano pieces that in many ways threw out tradition yet, because they never broke with tonality like some other contemporary music, they sound to our modern years as distinctly part of that tradition. This appears to be Debussy’s genius a century on. Or at least to me. Of course, they also sound very nice, which helps.


2. Gabriel Faure: Nocturne No. 12 in E minor, Op. 107 (9/10)

I didn’t write individual reviews of these pieces, so this is one to revisit.


3. Erik Satie: Avant-dernières pensées (8/10)

Pretty stuff, but relatively conventional for Satie and lacking some of the satirical wit of some of the other pieces from this era. I do like the idea that World War I was idiotic; that’s pretty damn accurate.


4. Gabriel Faure: Barcarole No. 12 in E-flat major, Op. 106 (7/10)

I didn’t write individual reviews of these pieces, so this is one to revisit.


5. Igor Stravinsky: Berceuses du chat (6/10)

These pieces were originally written for clarinets and voice, but what we saw were horns instead. I’m not sure what caused the change in instrumentation.

The music is engaging Stravinsky modernism but the brevity of them makes it hard to care about that as stand-alone pieces.

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