Préludes Book 1 (includes The Girl with the Flaxen Hair and The Submerged Cathedral)
Claude Debussy


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The first climber of 2015, Debussy's Preludes claw their way up eight places to 291, making it the first French entry of the year

Where Bach and Chopin used their Preludes as something of a technical exercise, composing one for each musical key, Debussy's were free-form and full of his signature expressive indulgences. Each one has a different descriptive title that gives clues about what was going through the composer's mind when he was writing them, from Shakespearean dances to underwater cathedrals. Perhaps the most notable is 'La fille aux cheveux de lin' (otherwise known as The Girl With The Flaxen Hair), which Debussy originally conceived as a song written especially for a soprano with (unsurprisingly) flaxen-coloured hair. But with 12 preludes to enjoy in whatever order you like — though performers often choose to play them in the order they were composed in — you can't go wrong.