Claude Debussy “live”

Performances by the French composer captured on the Welte-Mignon recording piano

from 25 March 2018 to 21 May 2018

Claude Debussy - Portrait von Marcel Baschet (1884)
Claude Debussy - Portrait von Marcel Baschet (1884)

The Welte-Mignon performance-capturing system, devised by the M. Welte & Söhne company in Freiburg im Breisgau to produce high-quality reproductions of performances at a time when the gramophone disc was still in its infancy, entered service in 1905.

The performances of famous composers such as Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel and Gustav Mahler, captured playing their own works, are deemed today to be of inestimable value, because they illustrate exactly how these artists imagined their works being interpreted.

Claude Debussy, whose centenary of his death falls on 25 March 2018, performed a number of his compositions for capture by the Welte company. Critics at the time noted how the composer exhibited a tenderness of touch at the keyboard that prompted listeners to forget that hammers were hitting strings; Debussy also produced an underlying improvisational sentiment that evoked a sense of complete freedom.

The Museum of Music Automatons is taking the occasion of the centenary of the death of the French pianist and composer to present his works on its Welte-Mignon piano in spring 2018.