In his introduction for the stream concert, Anssi Karttunen wrote:
"This is a recital which David Lively and I were meant to play at Salle Cortot on September 30th, 2020, on my 60th birthday. Coronavirus restrictions prevented that celebration and made reprogramming with audience impossible for a long time. Finally, David and I had been itching to play the program for such a long time so we decided to record it and reach our friends by streaming. If you miss the Premiere of either video, they will stay on YouTube for later viewing.
I have rarely played a program where everything seems to belong together as much as in this one. It starts at the Paris Conservatory with the 20-year-old Debussy’s two youthful pieces which already show moments of the genius to come. Maurice Emmanuel wrote his Sonata while also at the Conservatory in 1887 but when he showed it to his teacher Leo Delibes, he was told that: "as long as you write music like that, you might as well stay at home." The Sonata was finally first performed in 1921.
Even if the other composers of the program did not hear it played publicly, it contains many ideas that contributed to the unique directions they were each to take. The dark passion of Chausson and the multi-layered quasi-simplicity of Koechlin surround the Sonata of Debussy, which remains the jewel of the group.
But the real discovery in this program is the Improvisations… d’après 'Le Pain Quotidien' by André Caplet. Caplet’s masterpiece was premiered in 1924 by the composer and Madeleine Monnier, but after that there is no record of it ever been performed, much less recorded. Le Pain Quotidien was a series of 15 'exercises' for voice and piano from which Caplet drew several cycles of Improvisations for either cello, violin, clarinet or flute and piano. It has been a dream of mine for years to introduce the piece to the repertoire of cello and piano.
Hearing - or playing - these pieces together is like travelling in time to a very intimate party with circle of Debussy’s closest musical friends. It is impossible to say which one of them was the most original, they all pointed a way to the future."