>Luc Brewaeys' respect for Debussy's work is such that in producing this
>version of the Preludes--first performed in Brussels at the Palais des
>Beaux-Arts in late 2004 and late 2005--he "decided not to touch Debussy's
>notes." No doubling, even. "There's not a single octave in the score,
>which was not written by Debussy himself....also during the loud passages
>where the temptation to add notes for additional effect is great: I
>mainly searched for very specific, original combinations of sounds within
>the orchestral forces."
I haven't heard this "recomposition" but I would like to. Apparently,
Brewaeys first worked on five of the Preludes (2/5/6/8/12) and the Royal
Flemish Philharmonic were pleased enough to commission the whole set.
>So the question remains: why does Brewaeys call his work a "recomposition"
>rather than an orchestration, the more expected term? If you have heard
>it, is he right? I would welcome any comments.
Right, I don't know. May I comment just on the term?
>He says that "it wasn't my intention to orchestrate the works as Debussy
>would have done himself. I wanted to give my own interpretation of the
I think perhaps the explanation of "recomposition" lies in his definite
opposing of his "own interpretation of the music as to the orchestral
colours" to "orchestrat[ing] the works as Debussy would possibly have
I have seen some of the programme notes and Brewaeys goes on to say:
"Like Debussy himself, I use the (unpitched) percussion with the greatest
possible delicacy: the minimum of effort for the maximum of effect. I
do of course "orchestrate the Pedal" of the piano and had to think a lot
to find orchestral solutions for many typically pianistic passage-work."
As he uses the word 'orchestrate' with intent here, it does highlight
the difference he wishes to make between 'orchestrating' and 'recomposing'
to some extent... I find.
It is not an orchestration in that Brewaeys respects every note in
vertical number and actual pitch, adding none. He also respects the
timbral quality, adapting it to the orchestra as he hears it pianistically
and interprets it... he translates it into instrumental colours. An
orchestration might also add colour. His translation remains true to
the original, forgetting not even the tiniest detail, betraying none...
Yet translations are always interpretations. It is like rewriting a
book in a different language and to do that one has to reconceive the
ideas and images for one's self. Hence his word "recomposition"...
Harry Halbreich of Martinu fame attended the premieres in 2004, announcing
the next. He was impressed and finds the use of the term "recomposition"
justified in that Brewaeys' work is effectively a spectral analysis of
the original which reveals hidden aspects of the Preludes. If you would
care to read his short review, you will find it here:
Scroll down the page.