Thursday, June 6, 2013

Debussy: En blanc et noir (Bartlett & Robertson)

Rae Robertson and Ethel Bartlett
In honor of D-Day, sixty-nine years ago today, I present a work by a Frenchman who was profoundly depressed by the events of a previous war - Claude Debussy, who actually abandoned composition for several months at the outset of World War I in 1914.  His return to it came in the form of this three-movement suite for two pianos, "En blanc et noir" - a masterpiece, whose second movement clearly evokes the war.  This recording by Bartlett and Robertson appears to have been only the second one made of the work; an earlier version, on French HMV by Marcelle Ruff and Dominique Jeanes, from 1929, had long been deleted when this one appeared, coincidentally, about the time of D-Day! - three years after it was recorded:

Debussy: En blanc et noir, for two pianos (1915)
Ethel Bartlett and Rae Robertson, duo-pianists
Recorded April 29, 1941
Columbia Masterworks set MX-241, two 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 43.67 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 24.97 MB)


  1. Thank you very much, I look forward to hearing this!

    Best wishes, Nick