Tune of the Day: Clair de lune
The Suite bergamasque is one of the most famous piano suites by Claude Debussy. It was likely named after Paul Verlaine's poem “Clair de lune”, which possibly alludes to a bergamask, a clumsy rustic dance. Debussy wrote the suite in 1888 at age 26, but the work was not published until 1903, and the extent to which he revised it during the interval is unclear. Certainly the published work is a great stylistic advance over the few short piano works which preceded it, but whether that advance is due to an early maturity or to much later alteration will perhaps always elude historians.
The third movement of Suite bergamasque is its most famous. Titled “Clair de lune” (“Moonlight”), it was written with Paul Verlaine's poem of the same name in mind. It is perhaps the most famous piece Debussy ever penned, and has a way of drawing the listener into its magical atmosphere. It is mostly played slowly, pianissimo (very softly), and in the key of D-flat major (with five flats, beginners beware!).