In autumn 1891 Debussy’s early piano piece, Ballade slave, was published by Choudens. When he had it re-engraved by Fromont in a slightly revised form in 1903, he deleted the word slave. Thus the title pointed more markedly to the work’s narrative character. Yet one can detect a certain Russian influence, stemming from the time he spent with Nadeshda von Meck – Debussy was at times her house pianist. Even echoes of Balakirev can be heard. The occasionally unconventional tonal approach already heralds the Debussy of the important cycle Pour le Piano, published in 1901.