Claude Debussy’s hauntingly beautiful Sarabande is now available for your large concert bands. This transcription maintains Debussy’s inventive and colorful harmonic progressions and emotional melodies while featuring the rich timbres available in the modern concert band.
Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard Level: 4.5 | Duration: 4:10
Claude Debussy’s Sarabande was composed in 1894 and was originally meant to be included as part of a set of three movements for piano called Images. Debussy decided instead to include it as the second movement in the solo piano suite “Pour le Piano” and it received its premiere in 1902. A sarabande is a traditional dance form in triple meter and its origins appear to be in Central America as a dance called the zarabanda. This dance eventually gained popularity in Spain and was even banned for some time. By the 17th century the dance evolved into a slower form in France and became a traditional movement of the suite during the baroque period.
Although Debussy’s "Sarabande" was famously orchestrated by Maurice Ravel in 1922, this new transcription uses Debussy’s own orchestral compositions as an instrumental guide to exhibit Debussy’s rich harmonic colors using the timbres available in the modern concert band. With the exception of a change in key from E to E-flat, all musical elements of Debussy’s original composition are maintained. Percussion parts are carefully added, but any conductor wishing to stay closer to the original intent of a solo piano piece may leave these instruments out if desired.