The Arabesques of Debussy

The Arabesques of Debussy: The most well-known of this limited genre are Claude Debussy‘s Deux Arabesques, composed in 1888(N0 1)  and 1891 (No.2), respectively. Debussy’s view of a musical arabesque was a line curved in accordance with nature, and with his music he mirrored the celebrations of shapes in nature made by the Art Nouveau artists of the time.[1]


My own observation: Both of Debussy’s Arabesques are written in duple meter or 4/4 time. A conductor uses straight and angular lines when conducting these rhythms. However, in the Arabesques, Debussy uses a wealth of triplets. Things in three can also be conducted using a circular motion.  Triplets invoke circles. Triplets and the Art Nouveau style go together. In his quest for a new sound, Debussy looked to the 17th century for inspiration. Revealing his feelings for the baroque term, arabesque,  he wrote:[2] “that was the age of the ‘wonderful arabesque’, when music was subject to the laws of beauty inscribed in the movements of Nature herself.”


I can’t resist the temptation to bring up the words of the Oquaga Spirit in this regard: My own book of her poetry, called the Oquaga Spirit Speaks, will be available soon on the product page. Nature is all about curves and therefore,  three-four time. In this regard, heed the words of the Oquaga Spirit. This excerpt is from “Nature’s Waltz”:   Man likes duple meter. His triple meters wane. Return ye to the waltzes of Vienna; and the vibrant boleros of Spain.

Also my entire  session of an hour of Debussy’s music will also be available, shortly. Below is a rough, unedited clip from the recording session. Techniques I learned from Mischa Kottler are readily viewable. Mischa Kottler studied in Paris in the 1920’s with Alfred Cortot. Cortot was  a personal friend  of Debussy. Enjoy!

Preview YouTube video Ohrenstein plays Debussy Arabesque No. 2 

Ohrenstein plays Debussy Arabesque No. 2
The exclusive Gasparilla Inn resort on Boca Grande, where David entertains guests 6 nights weekly during the season in Flordia. Hear David play the incredible Steinway grands that date back to Debussy’s time. Life is an “arabesque” on this tropical Paradise.

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