Claude Debussy: Mouvement from Images, Series I

Images, Series I consists of Reflets dans l’eau, a second one called Hommage a Rameau and today’s Mouvement. The second one does not resonate with me as much as the first and the third, which is not to say that I don’t like it. It reminds me a bit of Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin which is an homage to a contemporary of Rameau’s. But the first and third have an effect on me which the second doesn’t.

Of the three, Mouvement is the shortest and more energetic. It starts out fast with a bubbling, roiling theme, which establishes a rhythm that continues throughout the entire piece. It flows along like whitewater over the rocks in a shallow brook before splashing up exuberantly.

The title, which means “movement,” is an obvious play on words: this musical movement conveys the experience of movement. And with movement comes the exhilarating feeling of independence and being alive.  I have noticed that I have a preference for almost any type of music which captures the sensation of speed, for that element energizes me.

Music is an interesting art form in that you can’t stop it and study it, say during a performance. It exists in the here and now in real time, to borrow a computer term, and it can convey the passage of time and speed it up or slow it down. Once a piece of music has finished, it exists only in memory. These, by the way aren’t my insights; they come from Stravinski’s “Six Essays on the Poetics of Music.” But they help explain why I’m drawn to music that expresses motion.

Being a rational child of the 20th century, I was brought up not to put much stock in things like astrology. Yet a friend once cast my horoscope, and produce a description of my character based on my sun sign, Gemini, that made me shiver in its accuracy. Geminis are air signs and have some connection with the god, Mercury. Mercury is also the metal, quicksilver, which is constantly in motion and amorphous in shape.

My mind has a tendency to jump from one subject to another and I’m easily bored by sitting still and doing the same thing repeatedly. Speed attracts me, and though I am of average stature, people have told me I walk incredibly fast. Part of that comes from going to a huge university where the classrooms were miles apart and I would have to walk fast to arrive on time. But I think I have always been addicted to movement and that is why music that conveys the sensation of speed attracts me.

So I’d have to say that Debussy’s Mouvement gives me a nice fix of speed whenever I need it.

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About kurtnemes
Writer and Education Professional. Specialties include Ethics, Personal Memoir, Classical music, Tai Chi, Stress Reduction, Meditation, Coping, Classical Music, Aging, Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity (& what interests me.)

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