Folksongs -Where Did the French Folksongs in Debussy Go?

Where Did the French Folksongs in Debussy Go? Debussy, an impressionist, featured French Folksongs. He was proud of his French heritage. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his Gardens in the Rain. It gives the impression of being in a country cottage during a rainfall. When I hear most pianists play it, I feel like it should be titled: Gardens in a Tornado. I have a saying that call on  three “T’s”  Tempo should be Tempered With Taste. This is especially true when playing the French music of Debussy. So what’s the proper tempo? I have a story that can help.


Our daughter, now Kathryn Parks, attended French Immersion schools in Toronto Ontario. She started at age five. They only spoke French from day one. How did schools teach English speaking children at age five French? Through French folksongs. What a treat for the parents. Everyday she’d come home singing a new song .One day it was Frere Jacques, another day it was Alouette, then it was Alphonse et Gaston… Both Sharon (my wife) and I took French in High School. We loved it! The point being, I’m quite familiar with the proper tempo for French folksongs.

Toronto Ontario where the French Language also spoken almost everywhere.
We lived over a 2 year period in Toronto, Canada. Our daughter, then 5 years of age, attended French immersion schools.
Our daughter, Kathryn Parks, has just played numerous lead roles in Sarasota and area. Here she stars as Anna in the King and I. She attended elementary school  in Toronto.


Now, here’s the beauty of the whole situation: My wonderful daughter and her husband, Jonathan Parks, Architect, just gave me a recording session for my birthday. I recorded one hour of the piano music of Claude Debussy. You can now sample part of this concert on youtube. It will be available shortly on the products page. Having heard French folksongs, at the correct tempo, gave me an advantage.  What a family collaboration! In the video shoot,  my wife Sharon was  the official music director and page turner. My youngest son, Daniel, was the sound and lighting engineer. (He is the assistant city engineer of Sarasota). Abe, my oldest son, was the drive and inspiration behind the entire project. Kathryn and Johnathan Parks made the project possible financially. Music serves to beautify life. And yes,  it all goes back to the French Folksongs. Please share this blog with your friends. Everyone should know what wonderful things music can do for a family.


  • Singing on stage in Sarasota, mother and daughter. Dad is playing the piano.
    Our musical family: Our daughter Kathryn Parks and my wife, Sharon Lesley. Singing the Flower Duet. I accompany them in the background. Watch on youtube to hear the family do Lakme by Leo Delibes.











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