07 April 2023
The idea of the 'Jeux de Couleurs' recording came to us when we thought of combining Frits Celis' trio with one of the greatest works of the chamber music repertoire, Ravel’s Piano Trio, and an arrangement of Debussy's 'La mer' by Sally Beamish. Combining well - and lesser- known pieces, performing vast orchestral works in the smaller context of the piano trio, and searching for nuance and colours are recurrent themes in our musical choices.
The music on the present recording fully embraces the contrasting sonorities of piano and strings. The two works by Debussy and Ravel, in particular, transcend the boundaries of the piano trio genre in similar ways, albeit from different perspectives. Maurice Ravel, ever conscious of the challenges posed by this particular formation, adopts an almost orchestral approach to the piano trio. In turn, Frits Celis combines subtle, impressionistic colours with a powerful rhythmic drive. Sally Beamish’s arrangement of Debussy’s La mer, on the other hand, successfully condenses Debussy’s brilliant orchestral writing without sacrificing any of its expressive power.
Throughout the entire programme, each instrument brings its full range of possibilities to these games of colours (‘Jeux de Couleurs’), a musical counterpart to Paul Klee’s graceful colour play that adorns the cover of this CD. Time and again the piano trio is truly transformed into an orchestra of three.
Claude Debussy was a French composer. He and Maurice Ravel were the most prominent figures associated with impressionist music, though Debussy disliked the term when applied to his compositions. He was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1903. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and his use of non-traditional scales and chromaticism influenced many composers who followed.
Debussy's music is noted for its sensory content and frequent usage of non-traditional tonalities. The prominent French literary style of his period was known as Symbolism, and this movement directly inspired Debussy both as a composer and as an active cultural participant Among his most famous works are his Clair de Lune, his Three Nocturnes and his orchestral piece La Mer.