Walter Mencken 2:37 p.m., March 1
I got a late start to my run the other day. I almost didn’t go but somehow ended up at Torrey Pines State Beach just after sunset. I believe that time of day is called dusk.
As I got to the top of the hill inside the reserve, a thin band of color still lingered on the horizon. The ocean was calm and deep purple, almost black.
I was a little concerned about running back down the half mile long hill in the dark but for some reason it was still fairly light out. After a few more strides I noticed I was casting a shadow.
I stopped and looked up. Directly overhead was an almost full moon.
Enter Debussy and his Clair de Lune.
The delicate light of the moon is what Debussy was after in this music. Whereas Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata was given its title by a music critic, Debussy started out to write a piece about the moon.
To hear Clair de Lune indoors is one thing. Debussy is trying to give us the moon but there is a roof in the way.
To hear Clair de Lune outdoors is another thing. Obviously I didn’t hear Clair de Lune while at Torrey Pines. All it required was bringing those first few delicate notes to mind.
Debussy did orchestrate this piece but to my ear it will always be played on the piano.