Debussy wrote these two short dances to a commission from the instrument-making firm of Pleyel, which was keen to use famous names in the marketing of its newly-developed chromatic harp. The dances are also playable without problem on the pedal harp, which was to replace the chromatic harp on the concert platform. The archaic style of the pieces, including modal harmonies, used to express a “sacred” rite and a “profane” dance of joy, points to the enthusiasm for antiquity of Debussy himself and of the artistic world around 1900.
Ours is the first critical edition of the pieces, and is based on careful checking of the autograph and first edition. Practical support has been provided by the well-known harpist Margit-Anna Süss-Schellenberger, who has arranged the solo part of this Urtext edition for modern harp.
G. Henle Publishers stands for Urtext sheet music of the highest quality. The Urtext editions not only provide the undistorted and authoritative musical text but are also aesthetically pleasing, optimised for practical use and extremely durable. And then there is the strong, distinctive blue profile: (almost) all of the Urtext editions are bound in the characteristic blue cardboard.
Musicians trust Henle's blue Urtext editions because they:
- provide an undistorted, reliable and authoritative musical text
- offer superb, aesthetically appealing music engraving
- are optimised for practical use (page turns, fingerings)
- are of high quality and durable (cover, paper, binding)
- contain a short preface that introduces the work (particularly useful for AMEB exams) in German, English and French, as well as explanatory footnotes for particularly interesting passages in the score
- contain a description of the sources, an evaluation of the sources, readings and a documentation of the corrections made (= "Critical Report") in German and English, and often also in French