Concerts
Concert

Renaud Capuçon and Lahav Shani perform the Sonata for violin and piano in g minor by Debussy

Duration : 14 minutes

Violonist Renaud Capuçon and the pianist and conductor Lahav Shani perform the Sonata for violin and piano in g minor by Debussy. Excerpt from the concert recorded on 18 May 2018, live from the Radio France Auditorium (Paris).

  1. In a letter dated 22 July 1915, Debussy announced to his editor Jacques Durand his intention to compose « Six Sonates pour divers instruments » [Six Sonatas for various instruments] and to sign them "Claude Debussy, French musician". He only wrote three, his Sonata for violin and piano being also his final finished score. Very weak from the cancer which would eventually claim his life, the composer despaired at the thought of never finishing the work, struggling in particular with the final movement, difficulties due in part to physical pains, an ongoing war, but also due to his own mercilessly demanding nature. His editor Durand wrote that, despite the finale being superb, Debussy wanted to change it again: "Eight days after, he asked me to come by to his home where he performed the new finale, which undoubtedly overshadowed the previous version". 

It is difficult to detect this difficulty in writing, as the Sonata is captivating with its fantasy, its intoxication rhythm, the freedom and flexibility of its melody which conceal a rigorous structure and thematic development. However, as in many others of Debussy's late works, the style of writing is sharper and more refined; the melody possesses the passionate and disenchanted accents akin to those of a flamenco singer. It brings to mind the latter addressed to Robert Godet, on 7 May 1917: "I have finished - at last! the Sonata for violin and piano... By the most human of contradictions, it is filled with tumultuous joy. In future, do not trust those works that seem to soar in the sky, for often they have stagnated in the darkness of a morose mind..." It was upon performing this Sonata, alongside violinist Gaston Poulet, that Debussy appeared in public for the last time.

Text by Hélène Cao

Claude DebussySonate pour violon et piano

1. Allegro vivo  2. Intermède : Fantasque et léger  3. Finale : Très animé

Debussy, Ravel and Schoenberg performed by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Renaud Capuçon
Full concert
Debussy, Ravel and Schoenberg performed by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Renaud Capuçon
Auditorium de la Maison de la Radio
Composer·rice
Claude Debussy
Claude Debussy
All artists
  • Lahav ShaniPerformer
  • Renaud CapuçonPerformer