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Name of Work

Debussy, Claude (1862-1918)
Première Rhapsodie for clarinet and piano (1991)

Première Rhapsodie


Feb 03, 1991

Larry Combs, Clarinet
Deborah Sobol, Piano

Feb 04, 1991

Larry Combs, Clarinet
Deborah Sobol, Piano

DEBUSSY - Première Rhapsodic for Clarinet and Piano

Composed in 1910

When Debussy was appointed to the executive board of the Paris Conservatoire in 1909, he was working on "Iberia" and "Rondes de Printemps," two of his Images for Orchestra, plus the first of his Piano Preludes; he was still enjoying the success garnered by his opera, Pelléas et Mélisande, which was introduced to London that year, greatly enhancing his international reputation. He had, as a matter of fact, "arrived," but tragically, he would have less than a decade of life left to savor his triumphs. Chamber music did not play a large role in Debussy's output; an early piano trio, one string quartet, a group of sonatas that he wrote during his very last years, "Première Rhapsodic" and "Petite Pièce" for clarinet and piano, and a Saxophone Rhapsody. Both rhapsodies also exist in orchestral versions. Of the one for clarinet, he wrote, "Surely this piece is one of the most pleasing I have ever written," and in its orchestral guise it has been singled out as the best of his concerto-type works. Its origin as a conservatory examination piece is evident from the full exploration it makes of the clarinet's possibilities. It consists mainly of a single fast movement, with a slow introduction whose tempo indication is pure, quintessential Debussy: "Revèusement lent," slow and dreamy.

Program Notes by Andrea Lamoreaux

Performed February 3 and 4, 1991

Performance Audio