Debussy Jeux (Games / sport)
Originally a ballet.
First performed in May 1913.
Story: Two girls and a man search in the park for a missing ball. Games follow involving pursuit, quarrels, jealousy, reconciliation and night falls on the empty park.
Prominent features that distinguish this piece from music written before the 20th century:
- Many tempo changes
- The use of themes
- Orchestration - Debussy moved away from the traditional idea of an orchestra being based around the stringed instruments.
- Listen out for the important roles of the woodwind, brass and percussion instruments.
The chords near the beginning consist of notes that are very close together (7th and 9th), rather than diatonic triads.
Listen out for the runs and outbursts across the orchestra – adding orchestral colours rather than creating melodies.
The violins have mutes on for the beginning – can you hear a difference in the sound?
Do any instruments stand out as being more prominent than others?
Debussy explores extremes in pitch – for example very high violins and piccolo.
Listen out for the solo violin, which plays a short idea rather than a melody.
Towards the end there is a waltz-like section with 3 beats in a bar - the triangle plays on the first beat of each bar. Which part of the story do you think this section represents?
CLAUDE DEBUSSY 1862 – 1918
French, impressionist composer.
Debussy played the piano from a young age, but gave up the idea of becoming a professional pianist when he was a teenager.
Debussy wrote his first composition in 1880.
Impressionism – a style or movement that originated in 19th century French art. The aim was to evoke a mood or feeling, to blur strict lines and form and replace with an impression.
Impressionism in music – Debussy used orchestral instruments in new ways to create his distinctive style, blending the different orchestral timbres and exploring the use of articulation.
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- Debussy Jeux
- Debussy La Mer
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- Mahler Symphony No. 7
- Mahler Symphony No. 9
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- Mozart Piano Concerto No. 27
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- Rachmaninov Piano Concerto 3
- Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 4
- Rachmaninov Symphony No. 2
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