Girl with the Flaxen Hair, The (arr Sparke)

From Wind Repertory Project
Claude Debussy

Claude Debussy (trans. Philip Sparke)

General Info

Year: 1910 / 2007
Duration: c. 2:30
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Piano
Publisher: Anglo Music Press
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - €82.00   |   Score Only (print) - €14.00


Full Score
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F
Trombone I-II
String Bass
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Glockenspiel
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone (optional)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Claude Debussy wrote his two books of piano Preludes late in life, between 1909 and 1913. The 12 short pieces in each book display a rich variety of styles, moods and emotions, almost a summing up of his compositional output, and each has its own evocative title. The Girl with the Flaxen Hair is the eighth Prelude in the first book and popular for its emotional depth, despite its technical and harmonic simplicity.

- Program Note from publisher

One of the most frequently excerpted preludes, La fille aux cheveux de lin (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair) is a return to the simple harmonies found in earlier works of Debussy. The work comes from the first of two books of piano preludes. Inspired by the poem of the same title by Leconte de Lisle from the collection Poèmes Antiques: Chansons Ecossaises, it is calm and lyrical, a stark contrast to mighty winds of the previous prelude in the set. The image is that of a young girl simply and softly singing of her daydreams, the opening motif reminiscent of the famous spinning wheel of the Gretchen tradition of the romantic period, recalling Schubert’s similar characterization of the young girl.

The harmony presents an interesting combination of Impressionist techniques: the melody is pentatonic, however it is harmonized with diatonic chords. This very cleverly masks the oriental flavor of the pentatonic scale, and when combined with modal cadences, gives the prelude a folk-song like presence.

- Program Note from Michigan State University Wind Symphony concert program, 27 October 2016


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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