DEBUSSY : Arabesque No1; Reverie; Serenade Interrompue; Des Pas Sur La Neige; Bruyeres: RAVEL: Sonatine; Ma Mere L’Oye.
BAM Music: BAM 19603
The Tomasi – Musso duo have here chosen some sublime music, all arrangements of course from piano originals, but (and I must say I AM biased) full of two of my most beloved composers, Ravel and Debussy, composers that I have loved for decades and both of whose music I have myself arranged for guitars, a few of Ravel, and a LOT of Debussy. So this album was a delight to receive! They open with the first Arabesque of Debussy a wonderfully light, airy piece full of gorgeous music, and what a superb arrangement it is. The recording is very clear, just a bit of reverb, which totally fits the music, and the playing excellent and really makes the music almost sound as if it was written for the guitars. What a pity that Debussy can’t hear what a great job they have done of it all.
The Reverie that follows is another early piece of Debussy and again like the previous piece sounds very warm and friendly with beautiful harmonies and again is a pleasure to hear.
They follow with three of the 24 Preludes that Debussy wrote years later .I myself arranged 12 of the 24, but couldn’t get the other 12 to work. It is nice to see that the three they play here, are part of the 12 that I arranged, firstly the very Spanish Serenade Interrompue, the gloomy Des Pas Sur La Neige, and the mysterious Bruyeres (respectively Book 1 Nos 9, 5, and Book 2 No6). Again these are lovely performances and completely true to the originals. I can’t fault the Debussy set at all.
Now onto the Ravel, that begins with the three- movement Sonatina. This is harder piece altogether and yet in their arrangement it completely works .Again this is such marvelous music that if you don’t know, you could hear this and be none the wiser about its piano original.
The album finishes with the 5 movement s of Ma Mere L’Oye an exquisite work that really is Ravel at his very best, with melodies and harmonies that stay with you long after you’ve heard them, from the opening Pavane de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty) , slow and haunting to the slightly quirky Petit Poucet (Tom Thumb) before moving onto the oriental sound of Laideronnette , Imperatrice des Pagodes (Little Ugly One, Empress of the Pagodas) , full of very swift cross string patterns that when you find them are wonderful, but take some playing, not that our duo have any trouble. The final two movements Les Entretiens de la Belle et de la Bete (The Conversations of Beauty and the Beast) a lovely waltz, with different musical ideas for both the characters that entwine superbly at the end, leading to the final Le Jardin Feerique (The Fairy Garden) with its slow hauntingly beautiful first section that eventually culminates in the superb and exciting coda. Originally for four handed piano these wonderful pieces sound effortless and utterly guitaristic and make a great finish to what is one of my favourite CDs of the decade for guitar(s). One to get NOW!!