Noriko Ogawa seems to be comfortable in the same pea pod as Claude Debussy; she displays a similar maverick streak to the French composer. They both lament the “rules” in roughly the same way. Debussy didn’t like the composition rules of his teachers at the Paris Conservatory, while Ogawa keeps away from what she sees as the restrictive, emotional tradition of European Romanticism.
In this video Nogawa makes her point by discussing the different aspects of Debussy’s Prelude No. 12, Book 2, Feux D’Artifice (Fireworks). As she explains the sonic meaning behind separate motives and sound clusters that simulate everything from a lit fuse to “La Marseillaise” sounding faintly in the distance, she does reinforce the lack of emotional spirit in Debussy’s music in his quest to depict his subjects as accurately as possible.
Sheet music to download and print: