Here's what I put in my programme notes when I performed this little ditty in May of 2004:

Debussy wrote the Preludes later in his life (pub. 1910) and they display a correspondingly more mature approach to composition – each one bears the hallmarks of his unique style and declares its individual identity at its start. In the case of this particular prelude, this is done through the opening melody, though the prelude’s climax (after the build-up of rising pentatonic scales) is perhaps its most memorable moment. The Preludes are more abstract than the depictions found in the Images, and though each numbered prelude has a subtitle placed at the end of it, it is intended to be less of a representation than a guide for the performer and listener.

Anyway, enough of that clinical bull. This is piece, no. 8 in Debussy's first book of preludes, is, at present, the only one I can play, although I have been taking steps to improve my sight-reading. The subtitle translates as 'the girl with the flaxen hair' (though I thought 'de lin' meant 'woolen'). It is neither technically nor rhythmically difficult. It is, however, deeply expressive and evocative of a kind of whistful and melancholy nostalgia and memories of a former love. The texture seems to alternate between sonorous chords and isolated one-line tunes, though, as I've written above, the climax comes after progressively louder repetitions of a rising pentatonic scale and culminates in an almost-tear-jerking series of chords.... man, it's amazing how lifeless it's possible to make it sound... I guess that's what A-level music does to you.
This piece is short, barely two minutes, but its emotional content is very rich. It's a backwards glance to you from a beautiful girl you once knew. It's the memory of a long-forgotten childhood home out in the country, among the waving fields. It is a great example of what the piano can do.

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