Catalogue of works

Préludes (Premier livre)     125/(117)

For piano

I. Danseuses de Delphes
II. Voiles
III. Le Vent dans la plaine
IV. " Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir " (Baudelaire)
V. Les Collines d'Anacrapri
VI. Des pas sur la neige
VII. Ce qu'a vu le vent d'Ouest
VIII. La Fille aux cheveux de lin
IX. La Sérénade interrompue
X. La Cathédrale engloutie
XI. La Dance de Puck
XII. Minstrels

Composition dates:
December 1909 - February 1910

Publication:
Durand, April 1910; Henle, 1986; Durand, 1985, Édition critique des œuvres complètes, I/5

First hearing:
I, II, X and XI, Paris, 25 May 1910, Société musicale indépendante, performed by the composer; VIII, London, 2 June 1910, Bechstein Hall, Franz Liebich; VII and VIII, Stockbridge, Mass., 26 July 1910, Walter Rummel; V, VIII and IX, Paris, 14 January 1911, Société nationale de musique, Ricardo Viñes; III and IV, Paris, 16 January 1911, Salle des Agriculteurs, Franz Liebich; XII, Paris, 10 February 1911, Salle des Agriculteurs, Ricardo Viñes; III, VI and XII, Paris, Salle Érard, Concert Durand, the composer; I to XII, Paris, 3 May 1911, Salle Pleyel, Jane Mortier

Comments:
Origin of the titles: "Danseuses de Delphes" inspired by Greek sculpture admired by Debussy in the Louvre; "Voiles" is perhaps evocative of the veils of the dancer Loïe Fuller, who was a huge contemporary success on the Paris stage; "Le Vent dans la plaine" is taken from a line by Ch.-S. Favart already cited in preamble to first of the Ariettes oubliées, No. 63/(60); "Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir" is the third line of Harmonie du soir by Baudelaire, No. 70/(64); "Ce qu'a vu le vent d'Ouest" is doubtless from a tale by Andersen, The Garden of Paradise ; "La Fille aux cheveux de lin" is from a poem by Leconte de Lisle already put to music by Debussy, No. 15/(33); "La Cathédrale engloutie" is after the Breton legend about town of Ys, which was swallowed up by the sea; "La Dance de Puck" could be from Shakespeare's Midsummer Nights Dream (act II, sc. 1).