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Debussy Preludes Book 1


Claude Monet, Woman with Parasol (The Stroll)

The Preludes of Claude Debussy (1910) have always been just out of my reach. Exquisite recordings by Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli don't help to make them any more reachable. There are twelve of them in Book 1, each as particular as a picture in an impressionist gallery. During the slow days of April and May, I've been trying to play them. I've managed four so far. The first is "Danseuses de Delphes," the Delphic Dancers, a ponderous little number that always makes me think of the hippos dancing in Fantasia. I've tried to liven it up - you can listen to my recording here.


Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Pyramus and Thisbe (Ask Me No More)

The second is "Voiles," or Sails. There's very little wind here - mostly we're looking at the sky. That recording is also ready to listen to here.


Claude Monet, Sunrise, Marine

The third is basically a mood piece, all lightning flashes and plinking raindrops, so it has to be Turner. Have a listen.


J. M. W. Turner, Snowstorm (Steamboat off a Harbour's Mouth)

The fourth is the Baudelaire one. This one doesn't have a title, just a line of poetry from Uncle Charles himself: "Les Sons Et Les Parfums Tournent Dans L'Air Du Soir." The sounds and smells turn in the evening air. What the heck - let's go with Flaming June. This one's a beauty.


Sir Frederic Leighton, Flaming June

These new recordings, the first four of twelve, are all found here:


https://www.sebastianknowles.com/debussy-recordings


Each one will be added to the album as each leaf comes to life. On the Debussy section of the website, a color illustration in place of each title indicates that the recording is available to listen to.


This is an ongoing project. As each piece is added to the album, another painting will appear in this blog post, and on the Debussy Prelude site.

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