Claude Debussy. La cathédrale engloutie, prelude for piano, L. /10 (/10). Composition Information ↓; Description ↓; Appears On ↓. Share on. facebook. Debussy, Claude La Cathedrale Engloutie (Preludes Book 1 no) midi file for Piano (midi) – La cathédrale engloutie. (). by Claude A Debussy, Colin Matthews. Description: Debussy, orchestrated by Colin Matthews; Duration: 5; Genres: Full.

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In andClaude Debussy wrote a series of 12 preludes for solo piano. A quintessential example of musical impressionismthe piece depicts the rise of a cathedral from the water and subsequent return to the depths — complete with bells chiming, priests chanting, and organ playing. The ancient Breton legend of Ys. Ys was a mythical city said to have been on the coast of Brittany Northwest France in engloutis Bay of Douarnenez.

It was famous throughout the region for its beautiful gardens and buildings. Run by a king named Gradlon or Gralon who lived in a palace of marble, cedar, and gold, it was rich in commerce and englouttie arts. It was also very vulnerable to flooding, being situated below sea level.


La cathédrale engloutie

To protect the city, a huge dike was built around it with a single gate that opened for ships during low tide. The exact reason why Ys became submerged in the sea varies. There are many different versions of the legend. Most depict Gradlon as a pious, devoted king and father who was the holder of the only key to the city gate. His daughter, Dahut, on the other hand is usually described as a sinful, deceitful princess.

In some versions, Princess Dahut holds a secret banquet for her lover and the two, drunk with wine, steal the key from her father and open the gates, letting the waters flood in.

Another version says that Dahut steals the key to let her secret lover in to the city during the night, mistakenly flooding the city.

In these versions, King Gradlon was said to have converted to Christianity. He agreed to do so, but devoted father as he was, he tried to save his daughter. A voice called out to throw his sinful egnloutie into the sea or he would not escape the waters that were about to overtake him. He does so and she turns into a mermaid.


All versions agree that Dahut does not escape her fate. Ys becomes submerged in the sea. King Gradlon escapes and takes englouti in Quimper which becomes the new capital.

The Story of Debussy’s “The Sunken Cathedral” | Parker Symphony Orchestra

Interestingly, a statue of Gradlon still stands between the spires of the Cathedral of Saint Corentin in Quimper. Another related legend says that when Paris is swallowed, the debkssy of Ys will rise again.

The opening of the piece gently brings in the cathedral, out of ejgloutie water, with a melody that resembles waves. Then after a section marked Augmentez progressivement Slowly growingthe cathedral emerges and the grand organ is heard with a powerful fortissimo.

This is the loudest part of the piece.

The cathedral then sinks back down into the ocean and the organ is heard once more, but this time from under water. Finally, it is out of sight and only the bells are febussy at a distant pianissimo. Hear It For Yourself!