I recently returned to an old nemesis of mine from my teens, Debussy’s “Claire de Lune”. Despite the first two lyrical pages, the middle section of this piece is quite intimidating and requires a very muscular approach, both to the arpeggios and the two-note chords in the fourth and fifth fingers of the left hand. Since having drifted away from the “curled fingers” hand shape that I was forced to adopt as a child, and towards a more relaxed, flattened, and flexible position, I find myself much more comfortable with all those black notes.

I’ve been asked to play Claire de Lune as an accompaniment to a flute solo, and I was given a “simplified” piano part to play in a one-off concert. Since the flute has the melody, the left-hand arpeggios have been split between the two hands, and the right hand is assigned the lower part of any two-part passages.

Between you and me, I’ll be damned if I’m going to learn it. Learning a “simplified” version would just destroy the solo piano version I worked so hard on.


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