Engulfed Cathedral, The (tr Longfield)

From Wind Repertory Project
Claude Debussy

Claude Debussy (trans. Longfield)

The full title in French is Préludes, Book 1: X. La cathédrale engloutie.

General Info

Year: 1910 / 1987
Duration: c. 6:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: C.L. Barnhouse
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $80.00   |   Score Only (print) - $7.00


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 Contrabass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Gong
  • Suspended Cymbal


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Engulfed Cathedral is the tenth prelude in the first volume of Debussy's Preludes. It depicts an old legend from Brittany that states, “To punish the people for their sins, the Cathedral in the mighty city of Ys is engulfed by the sea. Each sunrise, the townspeople watch as the sunken cathedral rises from the water, and then sinks slowly into the ocean."

- Program Note from Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music

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 3 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


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

None discovered thus far. [Remove this field if none found.]

State Ratings

  • Florida: V
  • Oklahoma: IV-A
  • Virginia: IV


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Encore Concert Band (Mokena, Ill.) (Bill Schuetter, conductor) – 28 February 2016

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

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