Iain Farrington

Pianist, organist, composer, arranger

Claude Debussy: Petite Suite

for Wind Quintet and Piano

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) composed his Petite Suite in 1886-1889, originally as a work for piano duet. It is a relatively early piece and displays influences of the popular French composers of the day such as Délibes, Massenet and Bizet. The first two movements take their titles from poems by Paul Verlaine, a poet who greatly influenced Debussy, in particular with his set Ftes galantes. To open the Suite, En bateau is a serene depiction of a boat floating across moonlit water. Cortege portrays a lady taking a walk with her pet monkey ahead and man-servant following behind, who carries the train of her dress, lifting it high to see underneath. A Classical 18th century poise characterises the Menuet, perhaps inspired by the contemporary Watteau paintings. To finish, the Ballet is a energetically rhythmic dance, with a contrasting graceful waltz in the central section. This arrangement for wind quintet and piano is based on both the piano original and the 1907 orchestration by Debussy's friend Henri Busser.

Instrumentation: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, piano

Available to purchase from Aria Editions here


1. En bateau

2. Cortege

3. Menuet

4. Ballet