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“Awkward and strange” – but still a “shining treasure”!

Yaara Tal

“The work appears awkward and strange without at the same time being extravagant or mysterious, not at all charming.” In comparison to other works by Debussy, such as Images or Estampes, it would come off rather badly. This is how Yaara Tal describes Debussy’s “En blanc et noir” for two pianos, composed during World War I in 1915.

Nevertheless she has written a 34-page essay on this work. And while devoting herself to the cycle, she has discovered true “treasures that secretly shine”.

The pianist explores the fact that there is actually a common thread, that the three movements do have something in common and that the work even played a key role in Debussy’s artistic dealings with Richard Wagner – as well as other aspects – in her essay “Zurück vom Ring!”, incorporating clear musical examples and using intelligible and colourful language.

Here is the essay (2,9 MB in German) as well as the appendix (6,2 MB) available for download free-of-charge.

We have published an Urtext edition of the work: Claude Debussy. Works for two pianos. The fingerings were provided by Andreas Groethuysen, the author’s piano partner in the piano duo Tal & Groethuysen.