Tune of the Day: Rêverie by Debussy
The original manuscript of Debussy's Rêverie is no longer extant, but scholars agree that the work was composed sometime between 1880 and 1884. As such, it is a milestone, representing the earliest known instance of Debussy working in the “impressionistic” musical vocabulary that eventually became his trademark.
The piece only appeared in print in 1890, when publisher Eugène Fromont issued it from an old manuscript that had been lying about for some time. Surprisingly, Debussy was not satisfied at all with his composition: “I very much regret your decision to publish Rêverie,” he testily wrote to Fromont. “I wrote it in a hurry years ago and purely for commercial purposes. It is a work of no significance and, frankly, I consider it absolutely no good.”
Debussy's low opinion of his Rêverie, however, has not prevented it from taking pride of place among the very best known of his piano works. The piece has been arranged countless times for a wide array of instrumental forces; jazz musicians, in particular, have long known it, and its influence may have helped to shape the harmonic approach of jazz in general.
Thanks to James for suggesting this piece!