Though some melodic ideas presented at the beginning of the movement recur near the end, most of the movement is a continuous development of fragmentary motifs and melodic phrases, which playfully explore strange and enchanting new sounds. Reviews. The “wind” and “sea” themes alternate, until the chorale returns in a powerful guise, bringing La mer to a thrilling conclusion. In place of traditional motifs and harmonies, in La Mer Debussy liberates the orchestra to create the luminous colors and aqueous textures that had obsessed him since childhood. In La mer, Debussy tells the story of the eternal odyssey of the ocean. The score is so vivid that you can almost smell sea salt and see the crests of the waves. Above all other aspects, it is Debussy’s approach to harmony that is fundamental to his style (hence a particular focus on that parameter in the discussions above), particularly when considered in the context of modernism. La Mer, a symphony? While writing La mer, Debussy recalled his father’s early plans for his career in a letter to a friend: “You perhaps do not know that I was destined for the life of a sailor and that it was only by chance that I was led away from it. Each movement of La mer bears a suggestive poetic title; the first is “De l’aube à midi sur la mer” or “From dawn to midday on the sea.” Frequently, composers imagine impossible effects and must use all of their ingenuity to create an illusion of what they hear in their heads; for instance, many composers have sought to create sounds that emerge from nowhere or fade away imperceptibly, even though every note written into a score must necessarily have a discrete beginning and end. The first recording was made by Italian Piero Coppola in 1928. The second movement is titled “Jeux de vagues” or “Play of the waves.” This movement has a mischievous character similar to that of the traditional symphonic scherzo, but like the first movement, its form is sui generis. Ticciati has conducted La mer and Pelléas et Mélisande across Europe with the LPO, Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Budapest Festival Orchestra receiving excellent reviews. He finished composing the work's three movements there in 1905, saying that he found more inspiration in paintings of the sea than being near the sea itself. This means it's composed for the orchestra, and is "poem-like". Nov 3, 2020 - Explore Allison Manch's board "Debussy- La Mer" on Pinterest. De l'aube a midi sur la mer II. Claude Debussy’s La Mer (“The Sea”) is not a literal portrait of the ocean.There is no “program” or story, as we might hear in Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony or a Strauss tone poem. 1pm - 4pm, Romeo & Juliet - Dance of the Knights In place of rules of art passed down by his professors at the Paris Conservatoire, Debussy relied on intuition, living “in a world of imagination, which is set in motion by something suggested by my intimate surroundings […] I find an exquisite joy when I search deeply in the recesses of myself and if anything original is to come from me, it can only come that way.” More succinctly, he wrote, “There is no theory. Pleasure is the law…”. Debussy preferred to call it a set of 'symphonic sketches' - something of a milestone in itself.La Mer (literally 'The Sea') was a confusing prospect to audiences of 1905, as it was neither a normal symphony nor a complete departure. Though some motifs reappear from section to section, on the whole each part of the movement has its own melodic ideas. And, as with a symphony, its three movements are intended to be performed together — a single sequence representing a day on the sea. Techniques of counterpoint and orchestration used to create these illusions are in many ways similar to a magician’s skillful misdirection or legerdemain. Careful remastering certainly makes the Debussy items sound fresher and more vivid than ever before, and the performances are terrific. These corrections are found in a score which Debussy gave to his wife as a present for her private library in 1913. Required fields are marked *. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. La mer, trois esquisses symphoniques pour orchestre (French for The sea, three symphonic sketches for orchestra), or simply La mer (i.e. Released in the year of Claude Debussy’s death centenary, this album demonstrates the exceptional harmonic and coloristic richness of his music. The centrepiece of the album is La Mer (1903-1905), a musical realization of the composer’s “sincere devotion to the sea” that revolutionized orchestral composition in the early twentieth century. On March 8, 9 and 10, the Houston Symphony presents a delectable all-French program featuring mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and Debussy’s La mer. French composer Claude Debussy’s major works included Clair de lune (“Moonlight”; in Suite bergamasque, 1890–1905), Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (1894; Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun), the opera Pelléas et Mélisande (1902), and La Mer (1905; “The Sea”). 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