The Girl with the Flaxen Hair (Debussy, arr. Sparke)

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) wrote his two books of piano Preludes late in life, between 1909 and 1913. The 12 short pieces in each book display a rich variety of styles, moods and emotions – almost a summing up of his compositional output – and each has its own evocative title (placed by Debussy after the music; they are preludes, after all). In the true meaning of the word ‘impressionistic’ the pieces are intended to fire the imagination of the listener to produce their own images and are not based on pre-existing poems or pictures.

The Girl with the Flaxen Hair is the 8th Prelude in the 1st book and popular for its emotional depth, despite its technical and harmonic simplicity. We do not know who ‘The Girl’ was, but this beautiful miniature conjures up vivid images in the mind’s eye.