debussy's khamma

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debussy's khamma

Postby steltz » Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:22 am

Under music files on this work page, the piano version of Khamma is listed as 'original'. I'm not sure this is quite right, though the history of the piece makes for murkiness.

As far as I can tell, Debussy composed this in 'short score', and Charles Koechlin orchestrated most of it. Nevertheless, I can't find anything to indicate that Debussy conceived it as a piano piece. In fact, the IMSLP page states that Debussy began the orchestration himself.

Is it not misleading to say that the piano score was original if it wasn't ever meant to be a piano solo piece?
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Re: debussy's khamma

Postby Melodia » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:59 pm

The works list I have shows it as being orchestrated later, though it doesn't mention piano specifically (this book usually does).
Whatever the case, Debussy DID write a complete piano version by himself, as best I can tell. It's quite likely -- since it was a ballet -- that he simply did both at the same time. Note his thrid ballet, La Boite a Joujoux is quite specifically for piano, in that the orchestration is even numbered differently. Jeux had a piano version made later...
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Re: debussy's khamma

Postby Carolus » Tue Aug 11, 2009 2:32 am

It's really quite confusing. Briscoe doesn't mention Debussy doing any actual orchestration, but supervising Koechlin's. The piano score was issued by Durand in 1912, so Debussy clearly approved that issue (hence my listing it as the original version). Apparently, a ballet performance was scheduled in New York for 1916 - which is why Koechlin was engaged to orchestrate the score - but fell through. By 1916, Debussy was already suffering from the cancer which ultimately killed him. If more information surfaces, things can always be changed easily enough. Koechlin's orchestration is really quite wonderful, so it's entirely possible that Debussy had a more direct hand in it. (Though Koechlin was certainly a very fine orchestrator as well.) Correction: Briscoe actually does mention Debussy as starting the first few pages of orchestration with the remainder being done by Koechlin on another page.

So, it's a case very similar to Boite a Joujoux, where Debussy orchestrated the first 94 measures and left the rest to Caplet. The piano score was issued a few years before the orchestral score in that case as well. Hmmmmm.
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