The Two Arabesques (Deux arabesques), L. 66, is a pair of arabesques composed by Claude Debussy. They are two of Debussy's earliest works, composed between the years 1888 and 1891, when he was still in his twenties.
Although quite an early work, the arabesques contain hints of Debussy's developing musical style. The suite is one of the very early impressionistic pieces of music, following the French visual art form. Debussy seems to wander through modes and keys, and achieves evocative scenes through music.
The Arabesque No. 1 (Andantino con moto) is in the key of E major and begins with parallelism of triads in first inversion, a composition technique very much used by Debussy and the impressionist movement. It leads into a larger section beginning with a left hand arpeggio in E major and a descending right hand E major pentatonic progression.
The second quieter (Rubato) section is in A major, which starts with a gesture (E-D-E-C♯), briefly passes through E major, returns to A major and ends with a bold pronouncement of the E-D-E-C♯ gesture, but transposed to the key of C major, played forte.
In the last section (a recapitulation of the first section), the music moves to a higher register and descends, followed by a large pentatonic scale ascending and descending, and resolving back to E major.
The vocabulary of Debussy's music is rich in harmonic dimension. The composer uses 7ths, 9ths, 11th and more, while he intersperses whole tone progressions that are so characteristic of his writing. If density, or volume ever applied to musical performance, this piece meets all requirements for a slow entry into notes, and a swimming motion through them therefore although originally written for Piano (and variations thereof), I chose to create this arrangement for concert harp to accentuate these characteristics of the original work.
This piece is best played using the "GeneralUser GS.sf2" Soundfont by S. Christian Collins Software (http://www.schristiancollins.com/generaluser.php).