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Student and teacher play piano duet in concert in a church

Music at Lunchtime: A Sparkling Piano Duet Recital

01st February 2023

This week’s Music at Lunchtime concert was given by Form 7 Music Scholar, Sam, and Head of Piano, Anne Bolt, who gave a performance of Debussy’s piano duet, Six Épigraphes Antiques.

Debussy’s duet is a series of evocative miniatures, each titled with model epigraphs from antiquity. The first movement, ‘Pan, the god of the summer wind’, opened the performance with relaxed pentatonic harmony and cascading motifs. The second and third movements were suitably atmospheric; the second, ‘For a nameless tomb’ was sombre and restrained, with the third ‘For the night to be propitious’, full of shifting textures and complex polyrhythms. The next two movements, ‘For the rattlesnake dancer’ and ‘For the Egyptian woman’, were fluid with graceful ornamentation. The final movement, ‘To thank the morning rain’, was appropriately full of pattering semiquavers, before returning to the opening pentatonic harmony and pastoral setting of the first movement to complete the cycle.

Debussy’s duet is a challenging work, both technically complex and musically subtle, demanding pianistic skill and nuanced expression. Sam and Anne gave a fantastic performance and their recital was a wonderful example of piano chamber music- congratulations!

The recording and programme from the concert can be found here. Next week’s Music at Lunchtime concert will be given by Form 7 Music Scholar, Jan, performing music for solo piano by Chopin, Rachmaninov and Ravel.

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