Petite Suite

On September 21, I shared a recital with a colleague, performing works for piano solo and piano duet by Robert Schumann and Claude Debussy.  Overall, I’m fairly pleased with the result, considering that the recital was planned relatively last-minute.  I just got the final recording, and thought I’d post some pieces I performed that I feel weren’t too shabby.  The recording was live, so everything was captured, including shuffling, coughing, and my own unfortunate flubs.  Do try to ignore those.

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Claude Debussy (1862-1918 ) composed the Petite Suite in 1888, when he was only 26 years old.  Originally written for piano duet, it was later transcribed for orchestra, and there are also arrangements for organ and wind band.  The four movements are filled with rich harmonies and intricate rhythms.  The interplay between primo and secondo is graceful and exudes spontaneity, romance and brilliance.

This performance was interesting for me; in the past, I had always performed secondo.  This was my first experience playing primo.


En bateau (In a boat)
The rocking meter of this piece creates the impression of swaying to and fro while sitting in a boat on a sunny day.  The primo‘s gently lilting melody is enhanced by the harp-like quality of the secondo, painting an image of water passing seamlessly beneath the boat.


This delicate procession is bright and coquettish, as if the members of the procession are tiny figurines from an ornate clock, which can be heard ringing throughout the piece.


This elegant menuet is the only movement that bears any resemblance to the Baroque keyboard suite.  Its fragile, somehow melancholy theme calls to mind a tender dance of figures atop a music box, or in a royal court.


The brilliant conclusion to this suite is the most thickly scored of all the movements, with the melody doubled between primo and secondo.  After a grand opening with a strong rhythmic theme, a new section begins with a slightly Spanish waltz, which returns for the finale.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bloggingexperiments
    Dec 10, 2008 @ 08:24:49

    You’re very talented. Do you use your music in your writing?

    Thank you! I’m not sure I understand your question – do you mean, do I listen to it while I write?


  2. Brad
    Dec 10, 2008 @ 16:34:49

    Again, that sounds really good. I had to laugh at the post title, because it rhymes 😛

    That’s just another reason why I like Debussy. 🙂


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