Suite Bergamasque

Suite Bergamasque

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Scoring & Instrumentation
Orchestra
3(3+picc)3(3=EH)3(3+bcl)3 - 4331 - timp, 3 perc, hp, cel - strings
Alternate Title

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Year Authored (or revised)
Duration (min)
18
Movements
I. Prelude
II. Menuet
III. Clair de Lune
IV. Passepied

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Description

Orchestrator's Note:

Debussy composed the Suite Bergamasque for solo piano around 1890 and revised the work in 1905. One hundred and eleven years later, in 2016, Jacob Harrison asked me to make a transcription of Clair de Lune—the most famous of the suite’s four movements—for that year’s Iowa All-State Honor Orchestra, which he was to conduct. I knew Clair de Lune (who doesn’t?) but I wasn’t familiar with the other movements of the the suite. I was pleasantly surprised that they also seemed to possess certain orchestral qualities, and I offered to transcribe the Prelude for Jacob as a companion to Clair. In the back of my mind, I tucked away the idea of completing the suite. It took several years, but I finished the complete Suite Bergamasque in 2022 on a commission from Jacob (at Texas State University) and Kayoko Dan (Sam Houston State University). Jacob conducted the premiere of the complete, final version in February, 2023.

Important questions arise for anyone attempting to orchestrate the best-known piano work of an equally famous composer. To what extent are details such as phrase markings, dynamics, and register to be retained? How much should the new version be influenced by Debussy’s own ingenious and novel orchestral writing? In the end, I hope I was able to capture a certain amount of “Debussyan” atmosphere, while allowing myself some leeway to tastefully translate pianistic material into a new idiom. As with all good music, the inherent quality of this work transcended its medium, and these lovely showpieces for orchestra emerged.

I am grateful to my dear friend Jacob for the very useful help he provided in editing the score.

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Text Language - Non English

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ACA-ARDA-033