You do not need to be a piano virtuoso to enter into the dream world of French Impressionism. With Debussy this is especially straightforward because he knows how to create masterly miniatures possessing poetic depth, even with simple technical means. Clair de lune is probably the best known of these, though by no means the only example, as our selection here proves. And whoever works through this volume successfully can then play a real concert piece in the shape of La cathédrale engloutie, the final work in our selection.
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- Piano 6 medium
ABRSM: Piano DipABRSM (recommended)
At the Piano The series “At the Piano” is intended for all those who have some experience playing the piano and would now like to play easier original works by famous composers. Students, teachers and those returning to the piano will encounter a wealth of well-known works. Contents Each volume in the series is devoted exclusively to one composer. This is because each … more
About the composer
Most important French composer around 1900, whose music, primarily characterized by its sound, exhibits profound innovations. His oeuvre bears a close relationship to Symbolism.
|1862||Born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on August 22.|
|1872–84||Studies at the Conservatoire de Paris. During this time, he travels with the family of Nadezhda von Meck to Switzerland, Italy, Vienna, and Russia, where he becomes acquainted with Russian and Gypsy music.|
|1884||Wins the Prix de Rome with his cantata “L’Enfant prodigue.” Thereafter resides in Rome until 1887.|
|1887–89||Songs, “Cinq Poèmes de Baudelaire.”|
|1888/89||Visit to the Bayreuth Festival; criticism of Wagner.|
|1889||Exposition universelle (World Exposition) in Paris, where he learns about East Asian music, which influences his style.|
|1890||Connection to Mallarmé and his circle.|
|1891/1903||Series of songs, “Fêtes galantes,” after Verlaine.|
|1891–94||Orchestral work “Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune” (“Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun”) with arabesque-like melodies.|
|1897–99||Nocturnes for orchestra and women’s voices.|
|1901||Beginning of his activity as a music critic.|
|1902||Performance of the opera “Pelléas et Mélisande” after the Symbolist drama by Maeterlinck, which despite criticism spells his breakthrough.|
|1903–05||Orchestral work “La Mer” uses symphonic principles and “Impressionist” tonal language.|
|1905–07||Books one and two of “Images” for piano.|
|1906–08||“Children’s Corner,” children’s pieces for piano.|
|1909–10/11–1913||Books one and two of the “Préludes” for piano; the programmatic titles of these character pieces, some of which are quite esoteric, are listed at the end of each one.|
|1913||Songs “Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé.”|
|1915–17||Chamber music sonatas, drawing from the French tradition of the eighteenth century.|
|1918||Death in Paris on March 25.|
About the authors
Historical information and practical notes preface every piece, and the spacious presentation makes them ideal compilations for students. This foray into the educational market is overdue from Henle, and these books are up to the publisher`s high standard.
At The Piano is an excellent series for students and teachers. Those who fancy learning a major composer’s ‘piano favourites’ will really enjoy working their way through each book. G. Henle have combined a scrupulous ‘pure’ score with plenty of valuable information, offering a fascinating glimpse into the history and style of each composer.