, dates from 1880 (the date 1876, often quoted, is unsupported by any evidence). Debussy matches Banville’s ‘sereine mélancolie’ with harmonies that move only slowly and not very far, while the vocal line emphasises the 7th, 6th and 3rd notes of the major scale in a way shortly to be exploited by Massenet. Debussy varies the two repeats of the opening refrain by activating the solid piano chords, first with arpeggios, then with a repeated falling three-note figure, but we, as listeners, are never in doubt as to where we are in the song or where it is going. This was Debussy’s first published composition, and the only one of his thirteen songs to poems by Banville that he published.
from notes by Roger Nichols © 2003