Composer Claude Debussy was not a natural at the piano. At first, he struggled to learn to love the instrument. But as he continued to write piano music, Debussy started trying new things, new sounds. He seemed to want to take the piano to places it had never been before.
Debussy’s prelude, Footsteps in the Snow, with its quiet, snowbound character was radical when it appeared in 1910. The composer inscribed these instructions on the manuscript: “This rhythm must have the sonorous value of a landscape sad and frozen.”
“We tend to think of radical obsession as something loud, like Beethoven,” Commentator Rob Kapilow tells Performance Today host Fred Child, “But you can be radically obsessed in a quiet landscape, as well…. This piece is a study of two footsteps — left and right. And the amazing thing is what’s going to happen with that. In just these two tiny footsteps, Debussy manages to hear a complete universe.”
Trudging through the snowy landscape, the listener hears Debussy’s repeated alternating chords — left foot, right foot. It almost seems too simple.
Check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZ8qhfS5o10