Listening Log – [Pt. IV]- Claude Debussy’s – Préludes-Book I, Prélude IX (…La sérénade interrompue)


Claude Debussy’s – Préludes-Book I, Prélude IX (…La sérénade interrompue)

Listening Log – [Pt. IV]- Claude Debussy – Préludes. BOOK I. Prélude IX (…La sérénade interrompue). Throughout March- April 2020 Listened (download) to digital audio CD box set 1994: ‘Krystian Zimerman- Claude Debussy Préludes’. (1994) On: Deutsche Grammophon. Performer: Krystian Zimerman.

A pizzicato figure which I can only describe as very ‘flamenco’ opens Prélude IX. The rhythm is reminiscent of a Fandango or Paso Double and when the chords finally join the pizzicato notes, they resemble the typical strummed rasguedo chords of a flamenco guitar. The same flamenco figure is repeated at a different key until the phrases eventually become slurred and sustained losing their Spanish ‘feel’.  This is however short lived and replaced by a right hand scalic melody resembling yet again, flamenco music albeit this time the guitar solos section rather than the chords. It sounds like it could be in the Phrygian mode or a version of it. Next there’s again a dance like section, like a Spanish Sevillana (folk dance style frequently used in Flamenco music). Eventually Debussy returns a final time to a more flowing and sustained section with long held dotted notes in the right hand, hovering above the original figure and giving it a fluid quality. For the final bars he returns to a dance like Spanish rhythm.

After listening and realising the piece has a title alluding to Spanish music it is very clear that this was perhaps a side to Debussy’s more playful nature, where he must have enjoyed pastishe-ing Spanish music. I am particularly fond of flamenco, so I pretty much love this prélude.

Debussy: The Complete Préludes (Jumppanen)
Paavali Jumppanen
Album Debussy: Préludes & Children’s Corner
NaxosofAmerica (on behalf of Ondine)