Tablet - Portrait

Tablet - Landscape


Claude Debussy

Debussy liked composing sets of piano pieces in threes, as evidenced by the Images oubliées (1894), Images, Book I (1904 -- 1905), Images Book II (1906 -- 1907), and Estampes (1903), of which La soirée dans Grenade (Evening in Granada) is the middle work. It had caused a minor controversy shortly after its premiere when Ravel asserted that Debussy borrowed a feature (C sharp octaves) from his 1895 Habanera for use in it. He may have had a point, but Debussy would have been the last to admit to such theft, not least because his effort here is quite brilliant apart from any influence. As can be suspected from the title, La soirée dans Grenade is yet another Debussy work with a Spanish flavor. It opens quietly, rhythms and thematic bits suggesting nocturnal Spain. Gradually, the music turns livelier, especially with the introduction of a rising rhythmic motif appearing in the outer sections of the work. The main theme appears at last, a festive, proud creation that calls to mind gaudy colors, lively dancers, and romance under a setting sun. It is elegant and graceful, but subtly sensual and alluring, especially as its succeeding music softens and reverts to more nocturnal moods. This colorful, five-minute piece ends after two brief, galloping episodes yield to the serenity of the evening.