Engulfed Cathedral, The (arr Miller)

From Wind Repertory Project
Claude Debussy

Claude Debussy (arr. James B. Miller)

Subtitle: Le Cathédrale Engloutie

General Info

Year: 1910 / 1986
Duration: c. 6:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Piano
Publisher: Shawnee Press
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $85.00   |   Score Only (print) - $12.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contra-Alto Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bells (Vibraphone)
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Gong


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Engulfed Cathedral by Claude Debussy is the tenth of twelve Preludes for Piano, Book I. Written in the short span of two months, (December 7, 1909 – 1910), the preludes reveal the evolving "impressionist " style of the composer during the mid-point of his composing career. Although the preludes have descriptive, programmatic titles, it should be noted that Debussy placed the titles at the end of each piece, perhaps to suggest that the music is intended to be considered independent of its "program."

- Program Note from publisher

This piece is a transcription for band of one of Claude Debussy's most popular solo piano works, Preludes, two books of compositions that Debussy described as "conversations between my piano and myself". Number 10 of book 1 depicts an old legend from Brittany about the legendary city of Ys, whose citizens built a magnificent cathedral to honor their new Christian God, but continued to worship their pagan deities. God punished them by submerging their cathedral, along with the entire city, into the sea. Once every century, on the anniversary of the destruction of the city, the cathedral would reappear for a day, only to disappear again in the mist.

The Engulfed Cathedral is a musical impression of this day: it begins with the evening mist, then the cathedral beginning to emerge as the clouds lift at the stroke of midnight. The music increases in intensity as the cathedral spires appear; its chimes can be heard in a three-note theme in the French horns. The music diminishes as the Cathedral becomes engulfed by the sea once more.

- Program Note by Stony Brook Wind Ensemble concert program, 18 November 2010


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State Ratings

  • Louisiana: V
  • Texas: V. Complete


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Debussy, C.; Miller, J. (1986). The Engulfed Cathedral = La cathédrale engloutie [score]. Shawnee Press: Delaware Water Gap, Penn.
  • La cathédrale engloutie. Wikipedia. Accessed 31 July 2023