Composer: Claude Debussy / arr. Kai Strobel
Instrument: Marimba Duo
Duration: 5 min.
Arranged by Kai Strobel
In honor of the 100th year anniversary of Claude Debussy's death in 2018, I decided to arrange a selection of piano pieces for Marimba, Vibraphone, and other Idiophonic instruments. Transforming these musical works to modern percussion instruments awakened my curiosity. It provides a wellfitting framework for Debussy's fundamental compositional idea and his source of inspiration: traditional Asian percussion music.
Debussy developed an individual musical language inspired by a Gamelan Orchestra, which he was introduced to at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1889. Including exotic gamelan elements in the composition, multiple uses of pentatonic, hexatonic and heptatonic scales as well as structural elements like the imitation of low gongs illustrate the Asian influences.
The extended solo piano piece L'Isle Joyeuse, which Claude Debussy composed in 1904 encloses these ideas. As one of the most famous classical piano works by the French composer, the ecstatic nature of this piece is intriguing. Debussy's positive emotional state in the composition process accounts to that. The piece was primarily created on the English Islands, which he fled to accompanied by his mistress to escape the city's social corset. When I decided to arrange it, I choose two Marimba as they match the requirements of the original composition best. In this Duo Version, the changes between accompaniment and melody parts are very fluent. The players need to be very focused in order to match congruent sound colors and dynamics.
Two Marimbas (5-octave)
About the composer +
Claude-Achille Debussy (22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918) was a French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music, though he himself disliked the term when applied to his compositions. He was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in his native France in 1903. Debussy was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and his use of non-traditional scales and chromaticism influenced many composers who followed.
Debussy's music is noted for its sensory content and frequent usage of nontraditional tonalities. The prominent French literary style of his period was known as Symbolism, and this movement directly inspired Debussy both as a composer and as an active cultural participant.
Front Cover graphics and layout: Ronni Kot Wenzell
Photo: Daniel Delang
Engraving: Kai Strobel & Johan Svitzer
Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
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