Impressionism Around the World

Listen to a few minutes (or all!) of each of the following pieces. Can you find where in the world these composers lived? Color in your answers on the map in your magazine! 

Iberia by Isaac Albéniz

This is a collection of pieces, called a suite, written for the piano! Rodeña, one of the pieces in the suite, is inspired by fandango dancing. Debussy was a BIG fan of this piano suite! 

Stars by Mary Howe

This short piece, written for the orchestra, is designed to make you think of a starry night sky. Mary Howe isn't an Impressionist composer herself, but she studied with famous musicians in Paris and was influenced by the style. Can you notice any Impressionist qualities in Stars?


November Steps by Toru Takemitsu

The composer Toru Takemitsu lived and worked later than the famous Impressionist composers you've learned about, but he sure thought and composed like an Impressionist. Toru took inspiration from all kinds of sources, like other composers, nature, and the spaces around him. Like Debussy and Ravel, Toru experimented with floating harmonies, unique textures, and musical styles from around the world. 

The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams

This beautiful work, written for violin and orchestra, was inspired by a poem about a type of bird called a lark. Ralph Vaughan Williams took music lessons from Maurice Ravel. As you listen to the floating, elegant music that symbolizes a bird's song, you may notice the violin often plays a pentatonic scale! 

The Swan of Tuonela by Jean Sibelius 

When the composer Jean Sibelius traveled to Paris, he met Debussy and was inspired by his work. The Swan of Tuonela is a tone poem. Tone poems are written for orchestra, and they're designed to paint a picture in your mind. Tone poems are usually inspired by an actual written poem. Do you remember reading about Debussy's work, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun? That piece is a tone poem, too!