The Suite bergamasque is one of the most famous piano suites by Claude Debussy. The first version of this work—started in around 1890—was published in 1891, but the author continued to redraft it until 1905. In fact, during the first few months of 1890, after the failure of his Fantaisie, Debussy found himself in a difficult economic situation. He started to write his solo piano composition—more profitable than his symphonies—in order to sell them in book form by the Frères Choudens. They include many different musical genres: some Tarentelles, some Mazurkas, a romantic Waltz, a Ballade, a Scottish march, a Rêverie. The Suite bergamasque, on the other hand, is excluded from the collection because it was bad business due to its unusual character. It saw the light of day 15 years later, in its final form, in four movements: Prélude, Menuet, Clair de lune, and Passepied. It was published in 1905 by the publishing house Fromont.
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medici.tv is the best online platform for streaming Debussy’s Suite bergamasque live, on replay or VOD, offering you a virtual ticket to the most exciting concerts with the world’s best artists and orchestras captured in HD video. When Debussy tried to publish it, the work was rejected multiple times. And yet, the Suite bergamasque has become one of the most appreciated and renowned works by Claude Debussy. Its Clair de lune has been picked up by many film soundtracks, from And the Ship Sails On (1983) by Federico Fellini to Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022). On medici.tv, you can experience the best interpretations of the Suite bergamasque played in the best concert halls of the world, from Beauvais to Berlin.
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The third movement of Debussy’s Suite bergamasque is a sort of play within a play inside of the composition. This greatly oniric miniature, divided between Romanticism and Impressionism, is known under the name of Clair de lune, in D-flat Minor. The title is inspired by the eponymous poem by the French writer Paul Verlaine, which starts with these lines: “Your soul is a chosen landscape/Where charming masked and costumed figures go” (“Votre âme est un paysage choisi/Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques”). The Clair de lune starts with an almost evanescent pianissimo that gradually intensifies, exploring an upper register, and dies in a ppp accompanied by light and floating arpeggios. On medici.tv, you can find some of the best artists of our time interpret the Suite bergamasque, and as Verlaine wrote in the verse that inspired Debussy: “leur chanson se mêle au clair de lune” (“their song mingles with the moonlight”)!