La Mer (1903-5)
Here are the three full movements:
1. De l’aube à midi sur la mer – très lent (si mineur) // “From dawn to noon on the sea” or “From dawn to midday on the sea” – very slowly (B minor)
2. “Jeux de vagues” – allegro (do dièse mineur) // “Play of the Waves” – allegro (C sharp minor)[audio:http://www.jaimeoliver.pe/snd/mh/deb/mer2.mp3]
3. “Dialogue du vent et de la mer” – animé et tumultueux (do dièse mineur) // “Dialogue of the wind and the sea” or “Dialogue between wind and waves” – animated and tumultuous (C sharp minor)[audio:http://www.jaimeoliver.pe/snd/mh/deb/mer3.mp3]
We won’t analyse La Mer deeply. But there is one issue we didn’t discuss in La Cathédrale: FORM.
Form in Debussy is freer than in his romantic predecessors. Instead of themes fighting or reasoning with each other, there are several motifs that are interconnected. Watch the following video for some examples from the first movement. See how the different motifs outlined on the right of the video, are organized and superimposed.
II. Color and Motivic Variation
The orchestra provides a further dimension to the color palette. See how he treats the following motif:
Here are the ways in which it returns:
In this one, listen for the multiple ways in which it is quoted (at least 4?)
This is the very ending of the 1st movement:
By the way how exotic is this!!
III. New Orchestral Sonorities
Finally, listen to these new orchestral sonorities:
From the second movement play of the waves:
from the first:
Q.3.1 Are these techniques there to establish harmonic content? to play melodic/thematic/motivic material? are they there to create impressions?