En blanc et noir

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En blanc et noir (L 134) is a suite for two pianos composed by Claude Debussy in 1915. It consists of three movements: an energetic waltz for the first movement (Avec emportement), a sombre second movement composed in memory of Debussy's friend Jacques Charlot killed in the First World War (Lent. Sombre), and a playful Scherzando to bring the piece to a close. It was composed during a late flourish in the composer's prolific output, along with his Cello Sonata, Sonata for flute, viola and harp, and the piano Études to which it is often compared.[1] The piece was first performed by Walter Morse Rummel and Thérèse Chaigneau (sister of Suzanne Chaigneau) in the salon of the Princesse de Polignac in January 1916.

Each movement of the piece is preceded by a quotation, the first movement is prefaced by an excerpt from Barbier and Carré's libretto for Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, the second by a passage from François Villon's Ballade contre les ennemis de la France, and the third by a quote from Charles of Orléans: "Yver, vous n'este qu'un vilain..."[2]

The movements are structured as follows:

Avec emportement
Dotted half note with upwards stem.svg = 66
C major dedicated to Serge Koussevitzky
Lent. Sombre
Dotted quarter note with upwards stem.svg = 42
F major dedicated to Jacques Charlot
Quarter note with upwards stem.svg = 72
D minor dedicated to Igor Stravinsky

Camille Saint-Saëns condemned this work, saying "We must at all costs bar the door of the Institut [de France] against a man capable of such atrocities; they should be put next to the cubist pictures."[3]


  1. ^ http://www.classicalarchives.com/work/146589.html
  2. ^ http://petrucci.mus.auth.gr/imglnks/usimg/2/2b/IMSLP03875-Debussy_-_EnBlancetNoir.pdf
  3. ^ Nectoux, Jean-Michel (1991). Gabriel Fauré – A Musical Life. Roger Nichols (trans). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-521-23524-2. 

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