The true joy of a moonlit night is something we no longer understand. Only the men of old, when there were no lights, could understand the true joy of a moonlit night. ― Yasunari Kawabata
It’s 3:00 a.m. A teething baby in need of soothing has kept me awake. It’s now silent, finally, in my home and the solitude, silence and tranquility of the night have invited me to take some time to write. I sit at my desk, the soft glow of the moonlight shines through half opened blinds. It illuminates my space and covers me like a warm blanket. It seems fitting that this day would be the anniversary of the birth of the French composer, Achille-Claude Debussy, who wrote Clair de lune (Moonlight).
Clair de lune, the third movement from Debussy’s Suite Bergamasque (one his most popular piano suites), is one of his most well known pieces and remains a treasured piece in the lexicon of classical music. This beautiful and harmonious work of art is one of my favorite pieces of music. Its dreamlike sounds soothe the listening ear, creating an aura of peaceful tranquility and captivating all who discover this lovely chef d’oeuvre (masterpiece). Clair de lune seems to charmingly evoke memories—perhaps saudades (feelings of longing) of a magical night experienced long ago or a special time of life one would like to recapture. Debussy’s genius is that this powerful and complex piece is packaged beautifully in a seemingly simple melody.
One of the most influential composers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Debussy is today remembered as a musical legend. His compositions have served as a base for musicians over the past century and will continue to inspire musical creations for decades to come.
The silence of the night is fading, slowly being replaced by the stirrings and sounds of the start a new day. To further enjoy this short time of tranquility, I reach for my music and decide to play Debussy. I have just the right piece in mind. Do you have a favorite Debussy piece? I’d love to hear about it.
To listen to Clair de lune, click here.
Music is the space between the notes. —Claude Debussy