The Cambridge Companion to Debussy

The Cambridge Companion to Debussy

Simon Trezise, Jonathan Cross

Language: English

Pages: 348

ISBN: 2:00211372

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Often considered the father of twentieth-century music, Debussy was a visionary whose influence is still felt. This Companion offers new insights into Debussy's character, his environment and his music, including challenging views of the roles of nature and eroticism in his life and music. While works in all genres are discussed, they are considered through the themes of sonority, rhythm, tonality and form, with closing chapters considering the performance and reception of his music in the first years of the new century.

"For those who have been enchanted and intrigued by Debussy's music, this book will only deepen their fascination with his work." Music Educators Journal, Doug Martin


















forthcoming book on Darius Milhaud. Her research is focused on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century French music, and on issues of French national identity from 1870 to 1939. Julie McQuinn is a Ph.D. candidate and part-time lecturer at Northwestern University. In her dissertation she examines the forces behind perceptions of gender and sexuality in Parisian society at the turn of the twentieth century and their connection to the creation and reception of a handful of highly individual

Prix de Rome winners returning from Italy were required to write an orchestral overture for an annual public concert. Debussy refused and wrote to the Institut that he had to ‘decline this honour because I am not in a position to accomplish any work worthy of the Institut’.83 He did, however, work on his fourth envoi – Fantaisie for piano and orchestra – in 1889, but he never sent it to the Institut. As Lesure comments, ‘The Institut was definitely not the direction in which Achille directed his

de Rome represented the capstone of musical study, and winning it signalled the start of a promising career. Claude Debussy, winner of the 1884 competition, later remarked on this popular perception: ‘[A]mong certain people the Prix de Rome has become something of a superstition: to have won it, or not to have won it, answers the question of whether one has any talent or not. Even if it is not infallible, at least it is a useful standard by which the general public can easily judge.’2

establish. As no artist has on his palette a transparent and neutral colour answering to open air, the desired effect can only be obtained by lightness or heaviness of touch, or by the regulation of tone. Now Manet and his school use simple colour, fresh, or lightly laid on, and their results seem to have been attained at the first stroke, so that the ever-present light blends with and vivifies all things. As to the details of the picture, nothing should be absolutely fixed in order that we may feel

on the scores, especially in ‘Ib´eria’ and ‘Rondes de printemps’, both of which are equipped with metronome marks (unlike ‘Gigues’ which has none). The first of the Images to be composed was ‘Ib´eria’, which Debussy optimistically reported as being almost finished in a letter to Jacques Durand on 7 July 1906: ‘I should have Ib´eria finished next week and the two other pieces by the end of the month.’50 In fact the autograph full score of ‘Ib´eria’ is dated Christmas Day 1908 and the ‘two other

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