Does anybody know what section of works that "The Sunken Cathedral" was placed under in Debussy's repertoire? I know I have not looked very hard, but that's what a piano forum is for! Is it in a grade, or could it be a concert piece more likely? Thanks!
It's one of the 24 Préludes.
Could we maybe translate 'engloutie' as "submerged', rather than "sunken". "Sunken" sounds like shoddy building practices.
All Debussy is Concert music, although some of the earlier, less sophisticated works, such as the Arabesques or the Suite Bergamasque, are not generally played by professionals, although they might make a charming encore after something excessive, like a Prokefiev Sonata.
Debussy, I am sure, had never heard of grades.
The Submerged Cathedral is about Trinity grade 8 to ABRSM Associate Level of difficulty, depending on how well you expect to hear it played. You need a very developed understanding of sonority and pedalling, and good skills at voicing parts and chords to make its "layers" work. In spite of the minor tenths, it is feasible for a small hand.
Thanks a lot, I just asked the question and the next day I found a Complete Preludes book. Sorry about the "Sunken" think; I don't know, but I heard it was called that- Submerged sounds much better. And I've just got a small question: I've really only been exposed to RCM, and I don't know how to compare the different styles of teachings, such as ABRSM. Could anyone enlighten me a bit?
Just say "La Cathédral Engloutie"
Can anyone explain the meaning behind the title of this piece? The music seems to tell a story, and the title's so descriptive, that I would imagine Debussy was inspired by some event or landmark.
The story of "La Cathédrale Engloutie" is based on an old legend from Brittany. As is the case with legends, the details may vary, but the essential is - more or less - the following:
The people of the legendary town of Ys on the coast of Brittany were punished for their sins; their town - with its magnificent cathedral and all of the inhabitans of Ys - was submerged under the waters of the Atlantic ocean. On clear days, however, (or at dawn, according to another version, or in the moonlight according to yet another), the Cathedral can be seen rising out of the sea. As it does, one hears the organ playing louder and louder, until it reaches full volume; and then, sadly, the Cathedral and its town sinks again beneath the waves. One hears the organ still playing, but the waves continue to wash over it until the cathedral, the organ and the town are buried again in the silence of the deep.
Thank you for the story. The music seems to fit it perfectly -- Debussy really did a nice job.