Sylvia's Violins | Children’s Corner, suite for piano (or orchestra), L. 113

      The Secret Garden

                Claude Debussy                   Frances Hodgson Burnett

1862-1918                  1849-1924

This little violin has the distinction of being twice named. I simply could not decide between Claude Debussy’s delightful suite for piano and Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic children’s novel The Secret Garden. Both are for and about children.

Claude Debussy’s daughter Claude-Emma, (affectionately nicknamed Chou-Chou), was three years old when Debussy wrote his suite for piano. “For my dear Chou-Chou, with the tender apologies of her father for what is to follow” he wrote in 1908. The six movements, Gradus ad Parnassum, “Jimbo’s Lullaby,” “Serenade of the Doll,” “The Snow is Dancing,” “The Little Shepherd” and “Golliwogg’s Cakewalk” are based on toys in Chou-Chou’s nursery and on the loss of innocence when children grow up.

Frances Hodgson Burnett was born 1849 in Manchester, England. With the death of Burnett’s father the family was plunged into poverty. Frances, a natural born storyteller, began writing to help support her family. Among her many books, The Little Princess, That Lass o’Lowries and Little Lord Fauntleroy Burnett may be most remembered by the children’s classic The Secret Garden. Burnett died in the United States in 1924.

There is a fountain in New York City’s Central Park Conservatory South Garden depicting the two children from The Secret Garden.