The Suite bergamasque (French pronunciation: [sɥit bɛʁɡamask]) is one of the most famous piano suites by Claude Debussy. It was first composed by Debussy around 1890, at the age of 28, but was significantly revised just before its publication in 1905.
It seems that by the time a publisher came to Debussy in order to cash in on his fame and have these pieces published, the composer loathed their earlier piano style. While it is not known how much of the Suite was written in 1890 and how much was written in 1905, it is clear that Debussy changed the names of at least two of the pieces. "Passepied" had first been composed under the name "Pavane", while "Clair de lune" was originally titled "Promenade sentimentale." These names also come from Paul Verlaine's poems. The final title of Suite bergamasque comes from Verlaine's poem Clair de lune, which refers to 'bergamasques' in its opening stanza: Votre âme est un paysage choisi / Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques / Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi / Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques.
Claude Debussy (1890 – 1905)
Catalogue François Lesure des œuvres de Claude Debussy (Version révisée en 2001 "CD") (number: 82a)
Catalogue François Lesure des œuvres de Claude Debussy (Version de 1977 "L.") (number: 75)
imslp: Suite bergamasque (Debussy, Claude) [info]
Suite bergamasque, L. 75, CD 82, pour orchestre (Leopold Stokowski orchestration)
Suite bergamasque, L. 75, CD 82b, pour orchestre (André Caplet orchestration)
1. Suite bergamasque, L. 75, CD 82a, pour piano : I. Prélude
2. Suite bergamasque, L. 75, CD 82a, pour piano : II. Menuet
3. Suite bergamasque, L. 75, CD 82a, pour piano : III. Clair de lune
4. Suite bergamasque, L. 75, CD 82a, pour piano : IV. Passepied