This colourful, highly virtuosic piano piece is often associated with the island of Jersey, where Debussy secretly spent the summer of 1904 with his new love Emma Bardac. Even if he wrote the autograph during this time, it has been ascertained that the work was composed at an earlier date and was intended as part of the "Suite bergamasque". During his stay on the island, Debussy revised the composition, giving the "Isle joyeuse" its present-day form. We are publishing the manuscript as a valuable facsimile edition to mark Debussy’s anniversary year 2012. In brilliant multicolour printing and with an extensive commentary, it meets the highest aesthetic and scholarly demands.
- Level of difficulty (Explanation)
- Other titles with this level of difficulty
- L'Isle joyeuse
- Piano 8 difficult
ABRSM: Piano LRSM (recommended)
Context and composition When, early in October 1904, Debussy received the printed edition of L’Isle joyeuse, he immediately wrote to his publisher, Jacques Durand: “Dear friend, how happy I am to receive both your letter and l’Isle Joyeuse1 […] But – God knows! – It is difficult to play … It seems to me that this piece runs the gamut of possibilities for … 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.|
Le superbe travail de présentation de Henle a été supervisé par Denis Herlin.
L'éditeur allemand publie un fac-similé du manuscrit autographe de l'Isle joyeuse. Un heureux événement. ... Le superbe travail de présentation de Henle a été supervisé par Denis Herlin. Il a été poussé si loin que sont décrites, par exemple, les principales modifications entre le manuscrit et l'édition de 1904. L'éditeur est même allé jusqu'à insérer des reproductions de gravures de Turner et Watteau!
Allein schon die lesenswerte Einleitung von Denis Herlin zu der Geschichte und die wissenschaftliche Betrachtung des Werks macht diese Ausgabe zu etwas Besonderem.