Claude Debussy, the French musician, is known mainly for his Clair de Lune, but do you know Its story ?

Inspired by the harmonies of nature

Considered a true precursor of contemporary music, Claude Debussy places the piano in a central position in his works, as in « Clair de Lune ». It is a true impressionist work. The artist is thus inspired by the harmonies of nature. Throughout his life, Debussy was able to put his many inspirations to good use, not allowing himself to be discouraged by criticism. “Clair de Lune” composed in 1890 and published in 1905, has four movements. The title of the movement refers to a folksong that was the conventional accompaniment to scenes of the lovesick Pierrot in French pantomime. Set in the larger composition’s reference in Bergamo, Italy – a city traditionally considered the home of Harlequin, a standard commedia dell’arte figure – the piece shows Debussy’s connections to the spirit of the circus that prevails in early 20th century compositions.

Claude Debussy clair de lune

Inspired by Paul Verlaine

We distinguish a prelude which is always placed at the beginning of a work in order to introduce the composition of the artist in a progressive way. But also a minuet, a graceful and noble movement, then a moonlight and a passe-pied. However, one cannot describe this music without mentioning a specific poem. Indeed, it is inspired by the work of Paul Verlaine who bears the same name. It is this subtlety that will constitute an infinite tenderness to this melody. It remains the best known of the Bergamasque suite for solo piano. Claude Debussy chose to write his work in a key of D flat major but also in C sharp minor at a very specific moment in the work. The movement is played in pianissimo, in other words in a very low sound when listening, which gives it this sweetness. The many back and forth that the artist will have to do to interpret this piece will allow to evoke a great emotional intensity for those who will be listening. An impressionist work that conveys so many emotions.

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