Classical Smackdown

Frederic Chiu’s

Classical Smackdown #1

Debussy v. Prokofiev

Comments Hall of Fame

Youngest Voter Comments

I want to play that music at age 10. I think Prokofiev can get a little wild.” - 8 year old

“I love the pyanows!” - 6 year old

Oldest Voter Comments

Thank you for the Education! You are AWESOME! Appreciated the music more based on your opening remarks! Wonderful.” - 99 year old

Most Intriguing Comments

“Apples vs. Oranges. Cats vs. Dogs. Birds vs. Butterflies. Van Gogh vs. Monet. Diamonds vs. Emeralds. Sex vs. Money.”

Most Radical Conversions

“Youzer! My mother used to forbid me to bang on the piano. She didn’t know Prokofiev. While Debussy is perfect for a full moon over Mohonk, I am voting for Prokofiev because it takes courage to play him at Mohonk. It takes courage to listen to Prokofiev. And it takes courage to grow “new ears” to challenge my mother’s early training.”

“So fascinating: I truly came into this expecting to vote Prokofiev for every round. Well-done! (voted 3 out of 4 rounds Debussy)”

"Debussy is actually one of my favorite composers, and I still like him more, but if this had been a "Battle of the Bands" Prokofiev would have won! (voted 3 out of 4 rounds Prokofiev)”

"Intermission: So far, Prokofiev makes me anxious. END: I'm surprised at my choice but with that last piece, Prokofiev won the night. (voted 2 out of 4 Prokofiev, Final vote Prokofiev)"

"Amazed that I liked Prokofiev so much."

“Last year I voted for Debussy hands down - what does this say? Perhaps I've changed - they certainly haven't!”

“Last year I voted for Debussy. This year I am a convert.”

“Somewhere along the way I learned jellyfish are beautiful.”

Nicest Compliments!

"I know you like to have a glass of wine, but you deserve 3 BOTTLES!"

"My first piano concert. Love Debussy."

Most Detailed Comments

“Prokofiev's Montagues and Capulets, earth and red energy chakra - pulled back to earth for Debussy's violet gold - ephemeral energy crown chakra.

Prokofiev Diabolic Suggestions, scary and sensual, a lot of orange/violet/red - Debussy Cloches - nice flowing green/blue, Jardins, felt the energy pulling down but more room/refreshing

Debussy Reverie intertwining blue/violet/orange, great flow - Prokofiev Toccata, powerful great impact, can relate on a busy day, full of yellow/red energy”

"Round 1: Debussy - rich full tone, I admire the pictures Debussy depicts with his music. There is an elegance, and exquisite flow in his harmonies.

Debussy draws the listener into his pieces. And he proceeds to expose us to an experience unlike any other composer. There is an overpowering subtlety which enraptures you.

Prokofiev - depth is wonderful. Prokofiev appeals to a darker side of music and his talent is for making the dissonance and intensity grand and beautiful. Not my preferred style of Prokofiev. Almost forced at being traditional.

Round 2: Prokofiev - A brilliant piece. I almost feel as if it is a bond of the dark and the light, the repulsive and the beautiful. Throughout the piece, is a portrayal of life. Good + bad are thrown together and not only is it possible for them to coexist in a piece, both are needed to create an awesome work of music.

Debussy - where Prokofiev is strong and bold, Debussy reveals his methods and motives in a refined way. He develops his ideas with clarity,  but overshades them to be  more difficult to uncover. Yet by the end of this piece his mastery is shown. I love to discover where he leads us and how he takes us to that final apex of musical revelation. Was not as fulfilling as anticipated. Perhaps a little fast.

Round 3: Prokofiev - his boldness is unmistakable. I like it. Deep darkness is made beautiful. He expresses diversity and innovation with his pieces. He has unmistakable character. Sometimes the crashing is intense and intention gets lost.

Debussy - the melody rises out of a combination of sound. His pieces here, especially the “Jardins ...” are full of life. He creates his pictures with mastery.

Round 4: Debussy - My favorite. Debussy puts all of his talent into one piece. It displays the complexity and combination of melody and harmony. There is elegance but he also has a fullness of his own kind.

Prokofiev - power and intensity. It is very epic and masterful.

There are places for both of these composers. I love the selection of pieces chosen."