Clair de Lune – Debussy

Vincent goes old school? I go super old school. This is Dylan again on Vincent’s account. Claude Debussy was one of the great classical composers of the late 19th Century.

His music is noted for its sensory component and for not often forming around one key or pitch. Often Debussy’s work reflected the activities or turbulence in his own life. His music virtually defines the transition from late-Romantic music to 20th century modernist music. – Wikipedia

One of his signature works is the “Suite Bergamesque”, a four-movement piece for piano that took him 15 years to write, between 1890 and 1905. The most famous of his four movements is the third, “Clair de Lune”. Take it away, wiki:

The third and most famous movement of Suite bergamasque is “Clair de lune,” meaning “moon shine” in French. Its name comes from Paul Verlaine‘s poem of the same name which also refers to ‘bergamasques’ in its opening stanza: Votre âme est un paysage choisi / Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques / Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi / Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques.

The first three movements include a common motif:

  • Prélude – F – E – F – E – D (bar 11)
  • Menuet – G – F – G – F – E (bar 6)
  • Clair de lune – F – E♭ – F – E♭ – D♭ (bars 1-2)

As Vincent and I are both headed to France as part of our European excursion, I figured it’d be good to post some actual French romantic music.

I first heard this piece when it was used in a beautiful triptych in the BBC Skins‘ Series 3 episode “JJ” (which I hope to one day make/remake into a feature film, I’ll keep you posted).

I am not nearly educated enough to discuss the technical beauty of this work, but I don’t believe it’s necessary to. Just listen and experience. Its power will move you.

Debussy – Clair De Lune [Buy]


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