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Clair de Lune

By Claude Debussy (1862-1918

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Brass Quintet - Digital Download
Composed by Claude Debussy (1862-1918. Arranged by F. Leslie Smith. 20th Century, Impressionistic, Anniversary, Wedding, Recital. 20 pages. Published by Sweetwater Brass Press (S0.159275).

Item Number: S0.159275

In 1869, the French poet Paul Verlaine wrote a work in four stanzas, the first of which referred to "masques and bergamasques" (masks and Bergamasks), and the third began, "Au calme clair de lune triste et beau" (The still moonlight, sad and beautiful). "Bergamask" refers to a dance, and when 28-year-old Claude Debussy, influenced by Verlaine's "Clair de Lune," wrote a four-movement piano piece in 1890, he titled it Suite bergamasque. Fifteen years later, a publisher approached Debussy about printing the youthful work. In preparing it for publication, the composer revised Suite bergamasque and in the process renamed the third movement from "Promenade sentimentale" to "Clair de Lune." This third movement has become the most famous. And, despite its piano origins, being written in 9/8 time and having dynamics primarily in the soft range, it sits well with a small brass group.

Performers are urged to take their time playing this arrangement; don't rush, and feel free to vary tempo and dynamics to match the mood of individual phrases. It might even help to read Verlaine's poem!

Completed in 2012, this arrangement runs about 4 minutes, 3 seconds. Contact the arranger, Les Smith, at If you like this one, don't miss "Arabesque #1" and "Golliwog's Cake Walk." For more arrangements by Les, enter "Sweetwater Brass Press" (without the quotation marks) in the SheetMusicPlus search box.

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