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The Six sonatas for various instruments (French: Six sonates pour divers instruments) by Claude Debussy
Claude Debussy
(1862–1918) was a projected cycle of sonatas, that were interrupted by his death in 1918, after only having composed half of the projected sonatas. He left behind his sonatas for cello and piano (1915), flute, viola and harp (1915), and violin and piano (1916–1917).

Contents

1 History 2 Sonatas

2.1 Sonata
Sonata
for cello and piano 2.2 Sonata
Sonata
for flute, viola and harp 2.3 Sonata
Sonata
for violin and piano 2.4 The unfinished sonatas

3 Bibliography 4 References 5 External links

5.1 Sheet music

History[edit] From 1914, the composer, encouraged by the music publisher Jacques Durand, intended to write a set of six sonatas for various instruments, in homage to the French composers of the 18th century. The First World War, along with the composers Couperin and Rameau, inspired Debussy in writing the sonatas. In a letter to the conductor Bernard Molinari, Debussy explained that the set should include "different combinations, with the last sonata combining the previously used instruments". His death, 25 March 1918, ultimately, prevented him from carrying out his plan, and only three of the six sonatas were completed and published by Durand, with a dedication to his second wife, Emma Bardac. Sonatas[edit] Sonata
Sonata
for cello and piano[edit] The sonata for cello and piano, L. 135, was written in 1915, and is notable for its brevity, most performances not exceeding 11 minutes. It is a staple of the modern cello repertoire and is commonly regarded as one of the finest masterpieces written for the instrument.[1] The work has three movements:

I. Prologue: Lent, sostenuto e molto risoluto II. Sérénade: Modérément animé III. Finale: Animé, léger et nerveux

The two final movements are joined by an attacca. Instead of sonata form, Debussy structures the piece in the style of the eighteenth-century monothematic sonata, and was particularly influenced by the music of François Couperin. The piece makes use of modes and whole-tone and pentatonic scales, as is typical of Debussy's style. It also utilises many types of extended cello technique, including left-hand pizzicato, spiccato and flautando bowing, false harmonics and portamenti. The piece is considered technically demanding. Whether descriptive comments related to characters of the Commedia dell'arte were actually given by Debussy to cellist Louis Rosoor remains unclear.[2] Sonata
Sonata
for flute, viola and harp[edit] The sonata for flute, viola, and harp, L. 137, was also written in 1915. The first performance of the Sonata
Sonata
took place in Boston, at Jordan Hall in the New England Conservatory, on November 7, 1916. The performers were members of a wind ensemble called the Longy Club, which had been founded by the principal oboist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, George Longy. The first performance in France occurred on December 10, 1916, at the home of Debussy’s publisher, Jacques Durand”.[3] The first public performance in France was thought to be at a charity concert on March 9, 1917.[4] However, Thompson (1968) reported a performance of the sonata at London's Aeolian Hall by Albert Fransella, H. Waldo Warner and Miriam Timothy on February 2, 1917 as part of a concert otherwise given by the London String Quartet. A typical performance lasts between 17 and 18 minutes. According to Léon Vallas (1929),[5] Debussy initially planned this as a piece for flute, oboe and harp. He subsequently decided that the viola’s timbre would be a better combination for the flute than the oboe’s, so he changed the instrumentation to flute, viola and harp. The instrumentation would later become a standard ensemble instrumentation. The work has three movements:

I. Pastorale: Lento, dolce rubato II. Interlude: Tempo di Minuetto III. Finale: Allegro moderato ma risoluto

Sonata
Sonata
for violin and piano[edit] The sonata for violin and piano, L. 140, was written in 1917. It was the composer's last major composition and is notable for its brevity; a typical performance lasts about 13 minutes. The premiere took place on 5 May 1917, the violin part played by Gaston Poulet, with Debussy himself at the piano. It was his last public performance.[6] The work has three movements:

Allegro vivo Intermède: Fantasque et léger Finale: Très animé

The unfinished sonatas[edit] As Debussy wrote in the manuscript of his violin sonata, he wrote that the 4th sonata should be written for oboe, horn, and harpsichord,[7] and the fifth for trumpet, clarinet, bassoon and piano.[8] For the final and sixth sonata, Debussy envisioned: "a concerto where the sonorites of the "various instruments" combine, with the gracious assistance of the double bass",[8][9] making the instrumentation:

Flute Oboe Clarinet Bassoon Horn Trumpet Harp

Piano Harpsichord Violin Viola Cello Double bass

The idea of combining the instruments oboe, horn, and harpsichord, inspired Thomas Adès
Thomas Adès
to write his Sonata
Sonata
da Caccia, and the combination of the instruments trumpet, clarinet, bassoon and piano, inspired Marc-André Dalbavie to write his Axiom.[10] Bibliography[edit]

Lockspeiser, Edward; Halbreich, Harry (1980). Claude Debussy
Claude Debussy
(in French). Paris: Fayard. p. 823. ISBN 2-213-00921-X. 

References[edit]

Notes

^ Sensbach, p. 282 ^ Moray Welsh. « Behind the Moon-eyed Mask ». The Strad (April – June 1992) and Antoine Pery. «  Louis Rosoor et l’interprétation de la Sonate pour violoncelle et piano de Debussy », Cahiers Debussy n° 39 / 2015, Centre de documentation Claude Debussy, June 2016 (fr). ^ http://rockportmusic.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Boston-Symphony-Chamber.pdf ^ Walker 1988 ^ Cited in Walker 1988 ^ Sleeve note of the Supraphon CD (SU 3547-2 101) ^ Léon Vallas Claude Debussy
Claude Debussy
et son temps. éd. Albin Michel, 1958 – 441 pages. page 412. ^ a b Henry Prunières La Revue musicale, Numéros 258 à 259. Éditions Richard-Masse, 1964. page 140. ^ Christian Goubault Claude Debussy : la musique à vif. éd. Minerve, 2006. 236 pages ISBN 2-86931-102-8. page 44. ^ "The Debussy "Six" – Music Mondays". newmusicusa.org. 24 August 2016. 

Sources

Sensbach, Stephen (2001). French Cello Sonatas, 1871-1939. Liliput Press. ISBN 9781901866612.  Thompson, K.L. (Oct, 1968). First performance? The Musical Times, 109(1508), 914-915. Walker, Deanne E. (1988). An analysis of Debussy's Sonata
Sonata
for Flute, Viola, and Harp (Thesis). Rice University. 

External links[edit]

Performance of Cello Sonata
Sonata
by David Requiro (cello) and Elizabeth DeMio (piano) from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
in MP3
MP3
format "Paris: Debussy and Ravel – Professor Christopher Hogwood CBE (Discussion and performance of the Sonata)". Gresham College. April 9, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013.  Recording performed by Nicola Benedetti, violin and Julien Quentin, piano from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
in MP3
MP3
format

Sheet music[edit]

Sonata
Sonata
for Cello and Piano: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) Sonata
Sonata
for Flute, Viola and Harp: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) Sonata
Sonata
for Violin and Piano: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)

v t e

Sonatas

Types

Sonata
Sonata
da camera Sonata
Sonata
da chiesa Sonatina Trio sonata

By instrument

Bassoon
Bassoon
sonata Cello sonata Clarinet
Clarinet
sonata Flute sonata Piano
Piano
sonata Viola sonata Violin sonata
Violin sonata
(list)

By composer

Bach

Organ Solo Violin Violin and Harpsichord Gamba

Bartók

Piano Solo Violin Two Pianos and Percussion

Beethoven

Piano

Brahms

Clarinet

Chopin

Piano Cello

Corelli Debussy Elgar

Organ Violin

Franck

Violin

Grieg

Cello Piano Violin

Handel

Flute

Haydn

Piano

Janáček

Violin Piano

Kodály

Solo Cello

Liszt

Piano

Mendelssohn

Organ

Mozart

Church

Poulenc

two clarinets clarinet and bassoon horn, trumpet and trombone Violin Cello Flute Clarinet Oboe

Rachmaninoff

Cello

Scarlatti Schubert

Violin

Shostakovich

Cello Violin Viola

Vivaldi

Cello

Miscellaneous

Fitzwilliam Sonatas History Sonatas and Interludes Sonata
Sonata
cycle Sonata
Sonata
form Sonata
Sonata
rondo form Sonata
Sonata
theory

List of sonatas Category:Sonatas Portal:Classical music

v t e

Claude Debussy

Opera

Rodrigue et Chimène
Rodrigue et Chimène
(1890–1892) Pelléas et Mélisande (1893–1902) Le diable dans le beffroi
Le diable dans le beffroi
(1902–1911) La chute de la maison Usher (1908–1917)

Ballet

Jeux
Jeux
(1912–1913)

Orchestral

Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
(1894) Nocturnes (1897–1899) La mer (1903–1905) Images (1905–1912)

Soloist and orchestra

L'enfant prodigue (1884) Fantaisie for piano and orchestra (1889–1890) Première rhapsodie (1909–1910)

Chamber music

Piano
Piano
Trio (1879) String Quartet (1893) Syrinx for flute (1913) Six sonatas for various instruments (1915-1917)

Solo piano

Deux arabesques (1888, 1891) Valse romantique
Valse romantique
(1890) Suite bergamasque
Suite bergamasque
(1890–1905) Pour le piano suite (1894–1901) Estampes (1903) Masques (1904) L'isle joyeuse
L'isle joyeuse
(1904) Images, Set 1 (1905)

Reflets dans l'eau

Children's Corner
Children's Corner
(1906–1908) Préludes, Book 1 (1909–1910)

Voiles Des pas sur la neige Ce qu'a vu le vent d'ouest La fille aux cheveux de lin La sérénade interrompue La cathédrale engloutie

La plus que lente (1910) Préludes, Book 2 (1912–1913)

Brouillards Hommage à S. Pickwick Esq. P.P.M.P.C.

Études (1915)

Piano
Piano
four hands or two pianos

Petite suite (1886–1889) Six épigraphes antiques (1914) En blanc et noir (1915)

Voice and piano

Beau soir (1880) Ariettes oubliées
Ariettes oubliées
(1885–1887) Cinq poèmes de Charles Baudelaire
Cinq poèmes de Charles Baudelaire
(1887–1889)

Other vocal

La Damoiselle élue
La Damoiselle élue
(1889) Le Martyre de saint Sébastien
Le Martyre de saint Sébastien
(1911)

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