Tune of the Day: The Little Shepherd
Debussy dedicated his 1908 piano cycle Children's Corner to his five-year old daughter, writing in his dedication: “To my beloved little Chou-Chou, with the tender excuses of her father for that which follows”. The composer's sentiments were presumably an acknowledgment of the inevitable loss of innocence that comes with growing up, but his words take on a darker, more prophetic, hue in hindsight: only a decade later, Debussy was dead, and his daughter was to follow him next year.
The fifth piece in the suite, titled “The Little Shepherd”, is a witty piece in a pastorale style. It tells a story of a young shepherd, playing his pipe, dancing around the meadow, resting by a tree, and finally falling asleep. The expressive simplicity of the piece is conveyed by imitating soliloquy on shepherd's reed pipes which alternates with accompanied dance tunes.