Originally written for the final year clarinet examination at the Paris Conservatoire, Debussy’s “Première Rhapsodie” has quickly become a bestseller of the clarinet repertoire, being a highly impressionistic work that plays marvellously with the timbral possibilities of the clarinet. Its success was so pervasive that Debussy later arranged the piano accompaniment for orchestra, and in this form the rhapsody is today to be heard all around the world. Our edition also contains as a “lollipop” the popular “Petite pièce”, an original work of under forty bars that was in fact devised as a sight-reading test.
At the beginning of 1909 Claude Debussy became a member of the Conseil supérieur of the Paris Conservatoire, on the recommendation of its then director, Gabriel Fauré. He thereupon served as IV an adjudicator in the concours (examinations) for wind instruments. In 1910 he wrote two pieces with piano accompaniment for the clarinet examination: the demanding concert piece … 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
Sowohl die anspruchsvolle Komposition selbst als auch diese neu erarbeitete Ausgabe sind sehr zu empfehlen.
The editor has carefully examined all of the sources and provides extensive notes regarding differences in dynamics, phrasing, and notation, as well as a chronology of the various versions. … The extensive historical notes alone make it invaluable, and the music is clearly printed on heavy stock with the sometimes problematic page turns eliminated.
Cerise sur le gâteau, les éditions Henle offrent en outre la charmante Petite Pièce – ce court morceau n’atteignant même pas 40 mesures-, plein d’originalité, conçu initialement pour l’épreuve de lecture à vue de l’examen final.
La edición Urtext de Henle es, pues, una bendición, con el añadido de la Petite Pièce.
La presente edizione filologica della Rapsodie ci aiuta a capire il percorso evolutivo che ha portato alla sua pubblicazione partendo dalla base del manoscritto, che in alcune sue parti si discosta notevolmente dalla versione finale approvata da Debussy. Il curatore di questa preziosa edizione è Ernst-Günter Heinemann.