Children’s Corner (L. 113) is a six-movement suite for solo piano by Claude Debussy. It was published by Durand in 1908, and was given its world première in Paris by Harold Bauer on 18 December that year. In 1911, an orchestration of the work by Debussy’s friend André Caplet received its première and was subsequently published. A typical performance of the suite lasts roughly 15 minutes.
It is dedicated to Debussy’s daughter, Claude-Emma (known as “Chou-Chou”), who was three years old at the time. The pieces are not intended to be played by children; rather they are meant to be evocative of childhood and some of the toys in Claude-Emma’s toy collection.
The title, “Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum,” alludes to Johann Joseph Fux’s (1660-1741), Gradus ad Parnassum (“Steps to Parnassus”). Gradus ad Parnassum “became the first ‘counterpoint text’ in the modern sense and the greatest schoolbook in the history of European music.”Debussy’s Doctor Gradus Ad Parnassum is of intermediate difficulty and requires experienced fingers. The pianist gets wilder toward the end and finishes the piece with a bang.