Transcribed by Donald Miller
Often called one of the most important composers in history, French composer Claude Debussy was influenced by Impressionist paintings and Romantic literature. He invented new writing techniques and coloristic devices, combining harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic elements to create a unique sound.
Himself a pianist, Debussy shared a natural French preference for woodwinds. Première Rhapsodie is one of his few pieces for solo wind instruments. It was written as a test piece for clarinet candidates in the 1910 competition at the Paris Conservatory. The structure was rigidly prescribed by the Conservatory's rules to include a slower, lyric section to display the performer's tone and a brighter section to showcase his dexterity. Debussy alternates between the two contrasting moods throughout the piece. --James Huff 19:48, 28 November 2008 (UTC) (from the program notes of The Claremont Winds, submitted with permission)