Debussy The Girl with the Flaxen Hair Arranged for Cello Quartet
Arranged by Steven Watkins and Edited by Charles Jacot
Title: The Girl with the Flaxen Hair (for Cello Quartet)
Composer: Claude Debussy
Arranged By: Steven Watkins
Edited By: Charles Jacot
Instrumentation: Violoncello Ensemble
Pages: 3 for the score and 5 pages for the cello parts
Debussy's Préludes are pieces for solo piano, written between 1909 and 1914, and divided into two separate books with twelve preludes in each book. Unlike previous collections of preludes, such as those of Bach, Debussy’s don’t follow along a strict progression through the key signatures.
The titles for the preludes were appended at the end of each work, rather than prominently at the top. The idea was perhaps to encourage the performer to use his or her own imagination, without being too influenced by Debussy’s titles.
The Girl with the Flaxen Hair (La fille aux cheveux de lin) is the eighth piece from Debussy's Préludes, Book I. It is one of the most popular of Debussy's pieces, both in its original version and in numerous arrangements. The prelude is only 39 bars long and lasts about two minutes, making it an ideal encore.
The original key is G-flat major; here in the 4-cello version it has been put into G major. This circumvents some problems by providing opportunities for open strings and natural harmonics to solve voicing issues. Though the piece sounds simple, fitting it into just four cello voices is a challenge at times, and there are some unusual double stops, some involving harmonics, which help to fill out the harmonies. Debussy’s harmonies in this piece are lush and warm, and the frequent double stops in the inner and lower voice create the impression of more than just 4 cellos playing. With the exception of the final statement of the theme (which is down an octave), the voicing has been kept as close to the original as possible.
-Steven Watkins and Charles Jacot