1905: Debussy: Rondes de printemps

Klaus Mäkelä/L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France


  • 2 piccolos, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets in Bb,  clarinets in A,
    3 bassoons, contrabassoon
  • 4 horns, 3 trumpets in C, 3 trombones, tuba
  • timbales, , triangle, tambourin, cymbals, celeste
  • 2 harps
  • strings

Debussy wrote a whole group of pieces for orchestra called Images pour orchestre, and this really gets quite confusing. You can read the long story, but I’ll try to make it simple. It’s not simple at all for me, and I got very mixed up. Here are all the “Images”:

  1. Gigues (1909–1912) (There is only one.)
  2. Ibéria (1905–1908) (There are three pieces in this.)
  3. Rondes de printemps (“Round dances of spring”) (1905–1909)

These are “rondes”:

A “ronde” is a lively Renaissance round dance or country dance associated with the outdoors, in which the participants danced in a circle or a line.

The names are very confusing:

I already linked the three parts of Ibéria to Stokowski in another post, but after Rondes de printemps is over you can play the whole recording from the start and hear everything. This is an excellent recording from beginning to end. Rondes de printemps is less than eight minutes long.

3 thoughts on “1905: Debussy: Rondes de printemps

  1. Well, I went down a rabbit hole trying to find out more about the Renaissance country dances. Apparently there were court dances, and the looser dances of country folk. I found some “rondes” and their rhythm was like Debussy’s (but not nearly as interesting).

    Off topic, but the French “contredanse” is actually a bastardization of “country dance” heard with a French ear.

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