After I had transcribed the Épigraphes antiques, beautifully performed several times by the Ensemble orchestral contemporain, I was invited by Daniel Kawka to renew the experience with Debussy’s Préludes for piano in the same orchestration: two flutes, one oboe, one clarinet, one bassoon, one french horn, one harp and a solo string quintet, that is to say a total of twelve instruments. Debussy’s twenty four Préludes represent with his Études, Images and Estampes, an essential corpus in the composer’s works for piano. These pieces, of a great variety of style, are all written under the sign of refinement and of rhythmical and harmonic subtlety. These pages are more an evocation than a description: Debussy wrote the title only at the end of each piece.
Considering the instruments I had at my disposal, I selected pieces of a delicate and subtle atmosphere, rather than the ones with too clearly defined colours or too typically pianistic. My concern – in the absolute respect of the score – has been to render the multiple nuances for, as Paul Verlaine wrote it:
Oh! only the nuance betroths
Dream to dream and flute to horn!
(translation Philippe Do)
2 flûtes, hautbois, clarinette, basson, cor, harpe, 2 violons, alto, violoncelle, contrebasse
Table of content
1. Danseuses de Delphes
2. Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir
4. La Terrasse des audiences au clair de lune
6. Le Vent dans la plaine