Written in 1890, Debussy's Reverie was one of his first solo piano works to make an impact. Even at this early stage in his career, when he was still working out what kind of composer he wanted to be (he was apparently a fervent debater when it came to Wagnerism), it's clear to see traits of that signature Debussy sound.
However, the young Debussy had not quite developed the style and tricks that would earmark him as one of his generation's most notable talents. There are no fireworks here, no sudden explosions in texture that would come to characterise his later works - this is more of a meditation, the perfect precursor to exploring those later works.
The gently repetitive theme that opens the work feels like a descent into sleepy dream-world (as the title suggests), and as the textures become ever richer the dreams only become more lush and addictive. A fantastic early sign that this Debussy fellow was one to watch…
REVERIE (1890) by Claude Debussy; Adam Sherkin, piano
Recorded live at The Royal Conservatory, April 26th, 2004 in Toronto
Painting by Samuel Palmer: A Dream in the Apennine, exhibited 1864
Tate Collection N05923
Myself at 17 during my high school senior recital in Spring 2008. The piano is rather out of tune, particularly on the extremes. Played from memory, and a few nervous mistakes here and there. Otherwise a fairly good recording.
The definition of reverie is "a state of being pleasantly lost in one's thoughts; a daydream." The quiet, reflective passages of this beautifully simple work wander about very much as if in a dream. Reverie was originally written for piano solo but is here transcribed for mallet ensemble.
Marimba 1 (4-octave)
Marimba 2 (4-octave)
Marimba 3 (4.3-octave)
Marimba 4 (5-octave)