Composer: Claude Debussy (1862-1918) L65
Duration: 12 minutes
Instrumentation: 10 Bb Trumpets (1st doubling Eb)
Debussy’s suite for 4 hands at the piano was first performed in 1889 and is a beautiful colourful example of the French impressionist style. The piece is made from 4 movements lasting approximately 12 minutes, and was arranged as a serious repertoire item for the trumpet ensemble of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in 2018.
The first movement, En Bateau (sailing) contrasts a beautiful long floating melody with arpeggiated decorative accompaniment, in a flowing 6/8 meter.
The second movement Cortège is based on a poem by Paul Verlaine. It pictures a genteel lady preceded by her pet monkey, the train of her dress carried by a helper. Debussy’s reaction is energized with little sparkling eruptions perhaps depicting a comic aspect!
The third movement is a Minuet in a more classical style, but still with the modal and whole tone harmonies of French Impressionist style. A beautiful lyrical movement, it allows plenty of scope for an advanced ensemble to show real finesse.
The final movement (the most well known of the collection) is a vibrant energetic Ballet, with plenty of bubbling staccato accompaniments and semiquaver dance-like patterns. It has a comedic waltz in the middle and ends with a recapitulation that finishes the piece with a sparkle and flourish!
A complex piece requiring plenty of mutes and fine tuned technique, this is a perfect concert item for any advanced trumpet ensemble to show off every aspect of playing!