Suite Bergamasque - No.3 Clair de Lune

Composer
Claude Debussy
Year of composition
1890
Arranger
Difficulty
Difficult (Grades 7+)
Duration
4 minutes
Genre
Modern classical music
Instrumentation
String quartet
Instrumental parts
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This Suite, Debussy's tribute to the French Baroque clavecinistes (harpsichordists), comprises four individual movements: Pr?lude, Menuet, Clair de lune, and Passepied. It is interesting to note that Debussy originally titled the third and fourth pieces "Promenade sentimentale" and "Pavane," respectively, and changed their titles only shortly before publishing the Suite in 1905. This has caused many to question the purported connection between the much-celebrated Clair de lune and Paul Verlaine's poem of the same name. However, Debussy's connection with Verlaine's poetry is far reaching enough for the association to be meaningful. He had already set the poem "Clair de lune," as well as several others, for voice and piano on two separate occasions by 1891, and the word bergamasque is itself contained within that particular text.

Clair de lune is perhaps the most famous work Debussy ever penned. Although Debussy's reliance on left-hand arpeggios throughout the piece can lead to a somewhat mechanical effect in the hands of less skilled performers, Clair de lune has a way of drawing the listener into its magical atmosphere. Particularly striking are the opening gestures, still and quiet, and a passage in parallel octaves that connects the opening to the more active middle-section.

This arrangement comes with an additional bass part for use with string orchestra.

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