Arts-Scène Diffusion

Fanny Azzuro


De l'expression dans l'impression

De l'expression dans l'impression

Debussy and Rachmaninoff


The Preludes Op. 23 were composed between 1901 and 1903. Rachmaninoff was not necessarily touched by Debussy's music; however, it is noticeable that, despite his natural attraction to the Romantic music of Chopin or Schumann, he was inevitably influenced by the French composers of the same period.

The pictorial realm, close to the Impressionists (whether they liked it or not), was also dear to Rachmaninov's heart, and in his writings he claims to have been inspired by paintings. Think in particular of the masterpiece Isle of the Dead, and the Études-Tableaux! The theme of nature, bells and landscapes is so dear to Debussy and Rachmaninoff. Some of Rachmaninoff's preludes have 'impressionistic' features, such as the Prelude op. 32 no. 5, if by 'impressionistic' one means an atmosphere more encompassed by a continuous pedal with blends of harmonies and a play of colours and fleeting impressions. In the Prelude op. 32 no. 6, it is more of a shimmering, flowing character, an evanescent dream...

For Debussy it was also a question of paying homage to Chopin with the composition of his 24 Preludes, a real invitation to travel and reverie, more than a descriptive painting. Debussy said "When you can't afford to travel, you have to make up for it with your imagination"! The titles given at the end of each piece were chosen to create an association of images or sensations in the listener.

Through two parallel worlds, a similarity; that of the love of pictorial art and the inspiration they draw from it.


DEBUSSY Préludes (25’) 1909-1913
Danseuses de Delphes
Les collines d’Anacapri
Des pas sur la neige
La cathédrale engloutie
La terrasse des audiences au clair de lune

RACHMANINOFF Préludes (35’) 1901-1903
10  Préludes Opus 23


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