Listening Log – [Pt. IV]- Claude Debussy’s – Préludes-Book I, Prélude VII (…Ce qu’a vu le vent d’ouest)


Claude Debussy’s – Préludes-Book I, Prélude VII (…Ce qu’a vu le vent d’ouest)

Listening Log – [Pt. IV]- Claude Debussy – Préludes. BOOK I. Prélude II: VII (…Ce qu’a vu le vent d’ouest). 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.

Prélude VII starts with wave like glissandi and arpeggios up the keyboard reaching a marked top note. It sounds like great high waves crashing against a shore. A section follows which consists of block chords in the right hand and very low and soft notes in the right. The effect is that of a low simmering rumble creating anticipation of an eruption. Sure enough. A semiquaver triplet pattern in the right-hand bubbles to the surface, playing in the register of the bass clef. It is setting a very thrilling and threatening atmosphere. As this pattern repeats it is answered by high register chords at a louder dynamic. The music gets more and more lively with runs up the entire length of the keyboard. The left hand takes up a trilling pattern against ff chords in the left. So everything erupts into ever faster and more animated figures and arpeggios, crescendo after crescendo with the piece getting louder, faster and more dissonant as it goes on.

After listening to the piece I looked at the score and the Prélude title . The Prélude was clearly intended to illustrate the rushing of the East wind. According to Debussy’ biographies this was based on a story by Hans Christian Andersen, ‘The Garden of Paradise’ and is one the hardest Préludes to play because of the virtuoso level technical skill required to perform it. This has to be one of my favourite out of the Préludes due to its immense drama and visceral qualities.

Claude Debussy : Prélude VII, “Ce qu’a vu le vent d’ouest” (Gianluca Cascioli, piano)
Claude Debussy: Prélude VII (book 1) “Ce qu’a vu le vent d’ouest” Gianluca Cascioli, piano CD published by DECCA , and available online at :…