The Art of French Piano Music

Roy Howat: Debussy’s Early Chamber Music

Friday, 08 June 2012

2.30pm, Piano Gallery, Royal Academy of Music
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Claude Debussy, Roy Howat (author of The Art of French Piano Music) will be joined by Neil Heyde and Peter Sheppard Skærved, to explore the young composer’s first essays in the field of chamber music: the Piano Trio of 1880, which lay unpublished for over a century, and two cello pieces of 1882. This workshop will illustrate the complexities and challenges of the forthcoming new edition of these pieces (which Roy Howat is preparing for the OEuvres completes de Claude Debussy), demonstrating how editorial rethinking can sharpen our perception of these still little-known works, and of Debussy’s skills as a young composer.

Time: 2.30pm
Venue: Piano Gallery, Royal Academy of Music, London
Tickets: Free! Visit the Royal Academy of Music's official event page for more details

More about 'The Art of French Piano Music'

An essential resource for scholars and performers, this study by a world-renowned specialist illuminates the piano music of four major French composers, in comparative and reciprocal context. Howat explores the musical language and artistic ethos of this repertoire, juxtaposing structural analysis with editorial and performing issues. He also relates his four composers historically and stylistically to such predecessors as Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, the French harpsichord school, and Russian and Spanish music.Challenging long-held assumptions about performance practice, Howat elucidates the rhythmic vitality and invention inherent in French music.

In granting Faure and Chabrier equal consideration with Debussy and Ravel, he redresses a historic imbalance and reshapes our perceptions of this entire musical tradition. Outstanding historical documentation and analysis are supported by Howat's direct references to performing traditions shaped by the composers themselves. The book balances accessibility with scholarly and analytic rigour, combining a lifetime's scholarship with practical experience of teaching and the concert platform.