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Clair de Lune (arr. Blair)

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Claude Debussy

Claude Debussy (orch. Andrew Blair)


General Info

Year: 1890 / 1905 / 2021
Duration: c. 5:20
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Piano
Publisher: In publication (C. Alan Publications)
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


Instrumentation

Full Score
Flute I-II-III
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium
Tuba
String Bass
Piano
Harp
Timpani
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Chimes
  • Crotales
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Sizzle Cymbal
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Wind Chimes


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

In 1890, at age 28, Claude Debussy began work on his Suite Bergamasque, a solo piano suite in four movements: Prélude, Menuet, Clair de Lune, and Passepied. Bergamasques were popular masked festivals in the ancient Italian theater tradition, specifically of Bergamo. Debussy took his inspiration from Paul Verlaine’s 1869 poetry collection Fêtes Galantes, which included the following poem, Clair de Lune (Moonlight):

Your soul is a delicate landscape
Where charming masqueraders and Bergamaskers go
Playing the lute and dancing and almost
Sad beneath their fantastic disguises.

All sing in a minor key
Of victorious love and the opportune life,
They do not seem to believe in their happiness
And their song mingles with the moonlight,

With the still moonlight, sad and beautiful,
That sets the birds dreaming in the trees
And the fountains sobbing in ecstasy,
The tall slender fountains among marble statues.

Paul Verlaine, 1869

By the turn of the 20th century, Debussy had evolved into a musical innovator whose influence would alter the course of modern music, and it would seem that Debussy came to think less of his earlier suite, resisting its publication; only allowing it to reach print in 1905 after substantial revisions.

Over time, the suite’s third movement, Clair de Lune. has become one of Claude Debussy’s most famous pieces, finding its way into such pop culture moments as Disney’s Fantasia, Twilight, and Ocean’s Eleven. An electronically inspired version was even created for the closing ceremonies of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This version for Wind Ensemble was commissioned in August of 2021 by Dr. Jaclyn Hartenberger for the University of Georgia Wind Ensemble.

- Program Note from University of Georgia Hodgson Wind Ensemble concert program, 23 September 2021


Media

(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson Wind Ensemble (Jaclyn Hartenberger, conductor) - 23 September 2021 *Orchestration Premiere Performance*


Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music


All Wind Works


Resources

  • Andrew Blair, personal correspondence, September 2021