“La Mer” L.109, (The Sea), is an orchestral composition by Claude Debussy. It was started in 1903 in France and completed in 1905 on the English Channel coast in Eastbourne. The premiere was given by the Lamoureux Orchestra under the direction of Camille Chevillard on 15 October 1905 in Paris. “La Mer” is a composition of huge suggestion and subtlety in its rich depiction of the ocean, which combines unusual orchestration with daring impressionistic harmonies. The work has proven very influential, and its use of sensuous tonal colours and its orchestration methods have influenced many later film scores. While the structure of the work places it outside of both absolute music and programme music as those terms were understood in the early 20th century, it obviously uses descriptive devices to suggest wind, waves and the ambience of the sea. But structuring a piece around a nature subject without any literary or human element to it – neither people, nor mythology, nor ships are suggested in the piece – also was highly unusual at the time.
Debussy called his work “three symphonic sketches,” avoiding the loaded term symphony; yet the work is sometimes called a symphony; it consists of two powerful outer movements framing a lighter, faster piece which acts as a type of scherzo.
“La Mer” is divided inot three movements:
1. “De l’aube à midi sur la mer” (from dawn to midday on the sea);
2. “Jeux de vagues” (Play of the Waves);
3. “Dialogue du vent et de la mer” (Dialogue of the wind and the sea).
Conductor: Vladimir Ashkenazy & Cleveland Orchestra
Posted in Educational, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, MEMORIES, Uncategorized
Tagged Camille Chevillard, Claude Debussy, cleveland orchestra, dialogue of the wind and the sea, Eastbourne, English Channel, La Mer, orchestral composition, Paris, symphonic sketches, Vladimir Ashkenazy, wind waves
La mer, trois esquisses symphoniques pour orchestre HD (French for The sea, three symphonic sketches for orchestra), or simply La mer (i.e. The Sea), is an orchestral composition (L 109) by the French composer Claude Debussy. It was started in 1903 in France and completed in 1905 on the English Channel coast in Eastbourne. The premiere was given by the Lamoureux Orchestra under the direction of Camille Chevillard on 15 October 1905 in Paris. The piece was initially not well received – partly because of inadequate rehearsal and partly because of Parisian outrage over Debussy’s having recently left his first wife for the singer Emma Bardac. But it soon became one of Debussy’s most admired and frequently performed orchestral works, and became more so in the ensuing century. The first recording was made by Piero Coppola in 1928.
La mer is scored for 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets, 3 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 cornets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, tamtam, glockenspiel, 2 harps and strings.
typical performance of this piece lasts about 23 or 24 minutes. It is in three movements:
(~09:00) “De l’aube à midi sur la mer” – très lent (si mineur)
(~06:30) “Jeux de vagues” – allegro (do dièse mineur)
(~08:00) “Dialogue du vent et de la mer” – animé et tumultueux (do dièse mineur)
Usually translated as:
“From dawn to noon on the sea” or “From dawn to midday on the sea” – very slowly (B minor)
“Play of the Waves” – allegro (C sharp minor)
“Dialogue of the wind and the sea” or “Dialogue between wind and waves” – animated and tumultuous (C sharp minor)
Posted in Educational, FILM, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, MEMORIES, PEOPLE AND PLACES HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY, Uncategorized, YouTube/SoundCloud: Music, Special Interest
Tagged Claude Debussy, dialogue of the wind and the sea, drum cymbals, emma bardac, play of the waves, symphonic sketches