Claude Debussy’s twenty four Préludes for solo piano, composed between 1909 and 1913, are atmospheric snapshots. Each opens up an enticing new vista which draws us in with the immediacy and sensuality of the most vivid impressionistic painting.
Les collines d’Anacapri (“The Hills of Anacapri”), the fifth prelude from Book 1, was inspired by the Mediterranean scenery surrounding the town of Anacapri on the island of Capri. Debussy visited this location in the Gulf of Naples frequently. Set in sunny B major, the piece begins with bright splashes of color. The sounds of tolling bells mix with fragments of a vivacious tarantella. Quotes of two Italian songs emerge. One is a frivolous popular tune, while the other is a sultry love song. Following a moment of serene introspection, the prelude ends in a brilliant flash, marked lumineux.
- Debussy: Préludes / Book 1, L.117 – 5. Les collines d’Anacapri, Krystian Zimerman Amazon
Featured Image: “Santa Maria a Cetrella, Anacapri” (c. 1892), William Stanley Haseltine