Achille-Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918) was a French
composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the
most prominent figures associated with Impressionist
music, though he himself intensely disliked the term
when applied to his compositions. In France, he was
made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1903. A
crucial figure in the transition to the modern era in
Western music, he remains one of the most famous and
influential of all composers.
His music is noted for its sensory component and
frequent eschewing of tonality. Debussy's work usually
reflected the activities or turbulence in his own life.
In French literary circles, the style of this period
was known as symbolism, a movement that directly
inspired Debussy both as a composer and as an active
Claude Debussy's Préludes are two sets of pieces for
solo piano. They are divided into two separate livres,
or books, of twelve preludes each. Unlike previous
collections of preludes, such as those of J.S. Bach and
Chopin, Debussy's do not follow a strict pattern of key
signatures. Each book was written in a matter of
months, at an unusually fast pace for Debussy. Book one
was written between December 1909 and February 1910,
and book two between the last months of 1912 and early
The works in Debussy's second book of Préludes
(1910-1913) are similar in intent to those of Book I|
(1907-1910). Several of them look ahead to Debussy's
later style, in which the composer's earlier
impressionistic, almost Romantic poetry was supplanted
by a greater concentration upon technique and
neoclassical objectivity. In addition, perhaps because
Debussy's style is so prone to mannerism, several of
the Préludes in Book II bear strong similarities to
those from the earlier set.
Bruyères (Heaths) is the fifth prelude from Book II
Similar in mood and style to La fille aux cheveux de
lin from Book I, Bruyères, a depiction of an idyllic
English landscape, is also one of the least demanding
Préludes from a technical standpoint.
Although originally written for Piano, I created this
arrangement for Concert (Pedal) Harp.