It is hard to write about this miniature. Maybe you see snow, maybe you don’t, but the whole piece is a blurring of textures. I would say this is quintessential Debussy. It is one of my favorite compositions by this French composer. It has everything I like best about Debussy.
It is perpetual motion.
Perpetual motion pieces are the most difficult things to play in my opinion because there is no place to rest and no place to recover. For this piece touch and and pedal combine to either make or break the whole thing. I don’t think it sounds easy to play, but even so it is harder than it sounds.
It has to sound effortless.
If the listener senses tension, struggle or even unevenness, the whole effect is ruined and the magic is gone. The sound-experience should be relaxing, hypnotic and otherworldly.
I’m not even going to try to talk about form, harmonic structure or even individual chords because the music is just too complicated. But for pictures there was no choice other than to find snow, and I needed a visual effect that is also relaxing and very pleasant. For this piece snow storms, blizzards and another bad-weather pictures were inappropriate, and snow on the ground without snow falling did not work either.