`Art is the most beautiful deception', said French composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918). Trained within the traditionalist environment of the Paris Conservatoire, Debussy nonetheless created revolutionary music of a distinctive modernity. A crucial counterweight to the strictures of his professors came from his wide literary interests, which profoundly shaped his music.
Claude Debussy traces the life and musical accomplishment of the composer through an in-depth study of his literary explorations. Many youthful song settings of poetry by Paul Verlaine and Theodore de Banville perfectly prepared him for the student cantata competitions that won him the coveted Prix de Rome. Then, after more personally invested settings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Charles Baudelaire, he completed the works that won him his place in the modern musical pantheon: an orchestral tone poem inspired by stephane Mallarme; an opera on a play by Maurice Maeterlinck. Later on, in the nationalislic environment of the years before World War the turned away from contemporary writers to compose several settings of French Renaissance Poetry. All the while, many of the brilliant orchestral, piano and chamber works he completed alongside these poetic ventures bore implicit traces of the same literary sensibility.
This book will give readers a fresh way of listening to Debussy's pioneering music by providing an up-to-date account of the composer's literary interests and musical compositions. Claude Debussy will appeal to any reader with a love of Debussy, as well as music, literature and the arts.
Series: Critical Lives
Number Of Pages: 216
Published: 15th August 2010
Publisher: REAKTION BOOKS
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 20.0 x 13.0 x 1.5
Weight (kg): 0.34