"Some people wish above all to conform to the rules, I wish only to render what I can hear. There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law."
(Richard Langham Smith (Editor))
This collection of essays on Debussy's life and music is aimed at both the music lover and a specialist readership. Many of the contributors to the current volume have worked on various pieces in the long-overdue complete edition, and the significance of their research is presented here. Topics include an examination of Debussy's working methods, his visual tastes, his reception in England, aspects of performance practice, as well as studies of his libretti and his relationship to the poet Stéphane Mallarmé.
Images : The Piano Music of Claude Debussy
In the poems of Baudelaire and Verlaine and the paintings of Watteau, which influenced his early compositions, Debussy sought truth and beauty as emanations of realism. Later, his music turned to symbolism, as, among other things, his daughter motivated him to compose music inspired by the sprites and fairies of Arthur Rackham's illustrations for Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens and Ondine. Also, the experience of the Javanese gamelan led Debussy to explore, not the percussiveness and the counterpoint predominant in that traditional Indonesian music, but the "after tones" (resonance, overtones) of the piano. Besides examining those influences on Debussy, British pianist Roberts discusses technique for interpreting Debussy's music, giving performance tips for the 24 Preludes, the x83 tudes, and the pieces concerned with childhood and humor. Judicious use of the piano pedals, Roberts reminds, brings out the overtones and after tones that Debussy heard while composing. Advanced amateur pianists and sophisticated listeners will find this beautifully illustrated book very useful for understanding Debussy's piano music. (review by Alan Hirsch)
The Life of Debussy (Musical Lives)
The early music of Claude Debussy was influenced by Wagner, but Debussy's music became experimental and individualistic. He quickly moved away from traditional techniques and produced the pictures in sound that led his work to be described as "musical Impressionism". This new biography--the first in English in 30 years--offers new insights into the life of this enigmatic composer. 21 photos.