Les Enfants Terribles, VI: Terrible Interlude

That’s quite a title, isn’t it? I promise, the piece is far from terrible…

Today, I’m featuring a relatively new release I found today on the Deutsche Grammophon YouTube channel, played by the French piano duo Katia and Marielle Labèque.

“Terrible Interlude” comes from an 11-part suite for piano duet, Les Enfants Terribles. The work is adapted from a 20-scene, danced chamber opera of the same name, written in 1996 for three pianos and four voices by American composer and pianist Philip Glass.

The opera is based on the 1929 novel Les Enfants Terribles by Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), a French playwright, novelist, poet, critic and filmmaker. The story follows a pair of orphans in Paris, France, who share an illusionary, mysterious and, ultimately, fatal relationship.

Glass decided to have the opera arranged for a piano duet, specifically for the Labèque sisters. Michael Riesman, an American record producer, conductor, composer, keyboardist, and music director of the Philip Glass Ensemble, created the arrangement. (Riesman plays piano on Glass’s soundtrack for the film, The Hours, an album from which I posted a track some months back.)

Today’s selection is the sixth part of the suite and comes from the Labèque sisters’ 2020 album, Glass: Les Enfants Terribles. It is a slow and contemplative piece, beautifully played and filmed.

The Labèques have an extensive discography of nearly 50 releases as a duo or with collaborators from 1969 to 2020.

Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the official music video from the Deutsche Grammophon YouTube channel:

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