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Topic: Debussy Suite Bergamesque IV: Passpied  (Read 1273 times)

Offline andrew_kennedy

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Debussy Suite Bergamesque IV: Passpied
on: June 17, 2021, 11:04:30 AM
Hi everyone.  Hope you're all having a good day and practicing hard :)

Does anyone have a view about how this piece should be played as regards overall tempo, dynamic and feeling?  It is marked Allegretto ma non troppo and is "p" at the start.  But all the recordings I've listened to play it at about 160bpm, significantly louder than what I think of as piano, and with a kind of clockwork Ravel-like sensibility.  My instinct is to take it significantly slower than that, faster than an Andante but not much, and with more of a swing / lilt to it - Passpied is a Breton dance, not a celebration of machinery :)  But everyone pretty much seems to be doing it like that, certainly as regards tempo.

Would be interested to hear what others think?
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Offline lelle

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Re: Debussy Suite Bergamesque IV: Passpied
Reply #1 on: June 17, 2021, 04:00:51 PM
My favourite recording of Passepied is this one, does it sound too fast to you?



Keep in mind that Allegretto is the overall character, and not an absolute tempo. If you listen to the melody, it does not sound "fast" or "hurried" in this tempo, and yet it is not slow either. That feels pretty Allegretto to me, even if this may be a quicker flavor of Allegretto.

Offline andrew_kennedy

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Re: Debussy Suite Bergamesque IV: Passpied
Reply #2 on: June 17, 2021, 06:00:47 PM
Yes I've listened to that version, it's probably one of the slightly less hurried sounding ones, but for me still sounds too fast - and mechanical.  I guess my problem is that when I first sat down to play it with no preconceptions of tempo or style, it struck me as feeling like it should be played one way, but then all the recordings I've heard subsequently say it should be another; so maybe I'm wrong... but I'll probably just carry on playing it the way that feels right to me!

Offline j_tour

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Re: Debussy Suite Bergamesque IV: Passpied
Reply #3 on: June 17, 2021, 10:54:56 PM
My favourite recording of Passepied is this one, does it sound too fast to you?

I agree with the OP:  that's a touch too fast for my taste, although Gieseking creates a marvelous "burbling" effect with his LH that I love.

I agree, that's within the "spirit" of the Allegretto, but where is the "ma no troppo!" ;D

It is a very commanding and persuasive performance, though.  I really don't recall other recorded performances I've heard, so my only frame of reference is the score and very occasionally hacking my way through it.
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Offline volcanoadam

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Re: Debussy Suite Bergamesque IV: Passpied
Reply #4 on: June 18, 2021, 10:00:47 AM
I've got the whole suit by Claudio Arrau. He plays it much slower then any other performer I've heard and I think it sounds much, much better that way.
VA
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