For his new ONYX CD Pascal is joined by his wife Ami for a programme of French masterworks for orchestra by Debussy and Ravel in arrangements for two pianos. The arrangement of 'La Mer' is the Rogés' own, the others are by the composers. The transcription by Maurice Ravel (1908) of Debussy’s 'Fetes', in the words of the distinguished musicologist Maurice Hinson, "has been translated into the two-piano idiom with independent artistry [and] ranks with the best original writing in the two-piano medium." Unlike Liszt’s single-movement 'Spanish Rhapsody' for solo piano, Ravel’s is a four-movement suite for two pianos: ‘Prélude à la Nuit’, ‘Malagueña’, ‘Habanera’ and ‘Feria’. It was written within the space of a few weeks in October but built around the ‘Habanera’ which had formed the first movement of his 'Sites articulaire' of 1895. Its recycling may have had something to do with Ravel’s resentment at being accused of plagiarising a passage from Debussy’s ‘La soirée dans Grenade’ of 1903 written in the same key with a habanera rhythm and a similar use of an insistent C sharp clashing against the harmonies.
Ravel pointedly attached the date ‘1895’ underneath his ‘Habanera’ in the two-piano score of Rapsodie espagnole and the orchestral version which he prepared in the early months of 1908.
Pascal Rogé has for many years been considered the prime interpreter of French piano repertoire. His recordings of Satie and the Debussy Preludes (ONYX4004) are benchmark recordings. BBC Radio 3 when reviewing the Debussy Preludes said they "came close to a definitive interpretation" and Telerama in France commented "Très beau, tres éduisant. Souverain".