LADIES and GENTLEMEN
for piano four-hands
duration: ca. 7 minutes
Lineage: Robert Burns’ 18th-century poem “Lassie w’ the lint-white locks” inspired Charles Marie René Leconte de Lisle’s 19th-century poem “La fille aux cheveux de lin”, which Claude Debussy set to music in an unpublished 1882 song. Debussy later borrowed the title of Leconte de Lisle’s poem (and the key of his early song) for his piano prélude “... La fille aux cheveux de lin”, published in 1910 as No. 8 from Book 1 of his Préludes. Alfred Cortot recorded the work in London on 2 July 1931, and in 1991 this recording was re-issued on compact disc as Biddulph LHW 006.
Ladies and Gentlemen is based precise micro-temporal measurements of Cortot's recording. One pianist (seated) plays a transcription of the Cortot/Debussy material; the other pianist (standing, mobile) plays a succession of fifths across the keyboard, becoming temporarily entangled with the hands — and music — of the other pianist.