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Program Notes

The Girl with the Flaxen Hair

Claude Debussy, composer

Claude Debussy wrote two sets of preludes, twelve in each, between 1910 and 1923. The best of them are among the finest miniatures in the piano literature. Each prelude is relatively short in duration, free in form and has the character of an improvisation. A gem in the collection, The Girl with the Flaxen Hair, was likely inspired by a work of the same title by French poet Leconte de Lisle. Evocative and enchanting, the melody of this piece is one of Debussy’s most exquisite. Although this prelude is most definitely a musical “impression,” its clarity of texture and harmonic vocabulary are far removed from the vagueness generally associated with “impressionism,” the prevailing French musical style of the period.

—published score


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