Claude Debussy
En Bateau (de Petite Suite):

Arranged by Ralph Sauer

Trombone and piano

, Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2016

Score and solo part. Grade 4/5.


The original version of En Bateau was cast for piano four hands, published in 1889. Since then it has appeared in many different transcriptions. It’s a barcarolle, a lyrical Andantino written in a flowing 6/8 meter throughout, evoking the steady movement of oars. It’s not clear what sort of boat Debussy had in mind when he wrote this piece. The word used by Verlaine in the poem that inspired it is ‘esquif,’ a boat for only one person. However, it is quite easy while listening to this piece to imagine two people rowing on a dark lake, trying to keep in time together in the tricky two against three cross-currents/rhythms that Debussy has created. Mr. Sauer has made it easy for the trombonist by placing the same rhythm in the piano right hand whenever the trombone is playing two against three or vice versa. The piano part is less easy. The transcription is in C Major, original key G. Trombone tessitura lies in the mid and upper register, overall range is c-c2.

Reviewer: Keith Davies Jones
Review Published January 31, 2019