Harmonized theme of the Scottish March. Complete piano piece of 17 bars in C major, 2/4 with the tempo indication "Très Modéré", unpublished in this form.
The manuscript was given by Debussy to his friend Erik SATIE, who had Scottish blood in his veins.
Composed at the end of 1890 or before 15 January 1891 for piano four hands, the Scottish March was commissioned from Debussy by the Scottish general Meredith Read, with Alphonse Allais as interpreter: "The idea was to write a work for piano on the theme of the March of the Earls of Ross. ...] The visitor was a descendant of the old Earls of Scotland; he brought Debussy the original text of the famous march," explains D.E. Inghelbrecht.
We have here the harmonized theme of the March, probably the very first state of the work before its development for four-handed piano [Lesure 83a/(77)], which was published by Choudens fi ls in 1891 under the title: March of the Old Earls of Ross, dedicated to their descendant General Meredith Read, Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Redeemer, with this note: "The origin of the Earls of Ross, chief of the clan of Ross in Rosshire, Scotland, goes back to the earliest times. The chief was surrounded by a band of Bagpipers who played this march before their Lord before and during the battle and also on gala days. The primitive march is the chorus of the present march". Republished in 1903 by Fromont under the title défi nitif (Scottish march on a popular theme), it was orchestrated by Debussy in 1908.
On the back of the manuscript, we find this note in the hand of Erik SATIE: "March of the Former Earls of Ross / Scottish popular theme harmonized by Claude A." (Marche des Anciens Comtes de Ross). Debussy".