This work only has the title in common with the well-known “Images” I and II from 1905 and 1908. Debussy dedicated the three-part cycle to the daughter of a painter friend, writing: “These pieces shy away from brightly lit salons, in which people are usually to be found who do not care for music. They are rather soliloquies of the piano and the self and it is not forbidden to employ the special mood conjured up by rainy days.” The slow movement – it resurfaces in a slightly altered form as the middle movement of “Pour le Piano” – is associated with the atmosphere in the Louvre and its old paintings. This is Impressionist music of a very special kind.
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- Images (1894)
Claude Debussy composed his threepart cycle Images during the winter of 1894. Although it has nothing more in common than its title with the well known Images I and II for piano of 1905 and 1908, the work is also associated with the cycles Pour le Piano (1901) and Estampes (1903). The first movement of the 1894 Images is only to be found in the autograph, while the second … 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
Es ist zu hoffen, dass die neue Ausgabe des Henle-Verlags, wie immer mit einem informativen Vorwort und detaillierten Quellenangaben versehen, diesen schönen und nicht allzu schwierigen Stücken zu größerer Bekanntheit verhelfen wird.
Met een voorbeeldige uitgave schenkt Henle ons drie juweeltjes, onontbeerlijk voor elke liefhebber van Debussy.