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Debussy at 150: The Impressions Still Deceive
The New York Times ^ | August 17, 2012 | Anthony Tommasini

Posted on 08/22/2012 9:38:00 AM PDT by EveningStar

CLASSICAL music institutions are usually quick to seize on major anniversaries of a composer’s birth or death as a convenient programming hook. Get ready for the Wagner and Verdi bicentennial celebrations next year.

But what happened to Debussy, born 150 years ago on Wednesday in St.-Germain-en-Laye, west of Paris? His anniversary has drawn surprisingly little notice, at least from major New York institutions. Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic and Lincoln Center have scheduled no special events or festivals.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: birthday; classicalmusic; debussy; sesquicentennial

1 posted on 08/22/2012 9:38:12 AM PDT by EveningStar
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To: EveningStar
I have always enjoyed Debussy's work. I think a comment he once made, that ‘the music is the stuff between the notes’ goes a long way to explaining his approach. That the timing and tempo of a piece are integral to the effect regardless of tonality.
2 posted on 08/22/2012 10:08:21 AM PDT by Old North State
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To: EveningStar

I would not rank Debussey as one of the great composers. He definitely wrote some nice stuff but cannot compare with the truly great: Bach, Mozart, Handel, Beethoven, Haydn etc.

Claire de Lune is a little gem. La Mer is good and his piano music has lots of good stuff in it. But, with the exception of Daphnis and Chloe, his major works are not played that often and I would venture to say that even lovers of classical music have never heard a lot of his bigger pieces.


3 posted on 08/22/2012 10:08:21 AM PDT by arrogantsob (Obama MUST Go. Sarah herself supports Romney.)
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To: Borges; sitetest

ping


4 posted on 08/22/2012 10:11:09 AM PDT by EveningStar
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To: EveningStar; .30Carbine; 1cewolf; 1rudeboy; 2nd Bn, 11th Mar; 31R1O; ADemocratNoMore; ...

Dear EveningStar,

Thanks for the ping!

Classical Music Ping List ping!

If you want on or off this list, let me know via FR e-mail.

Thanks,

sitetest


5 posted on 08/22/2012 10:15:13 AM PDT by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: arrogantsob

Debussy is one of the most influential composers of all time. He could be said to have kicked off 20th century music (in the 1890s). His influence extends to Jazz and Pop as well.


6 posted on 08/22/2012 11:13:17 AM PDT by Borges
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To: arrogantsob

I enjoy Debussy, especially his piano works (I always smile at “Golliwogg’s Cakewalk”). However, I’ve always preferred Ravel. As one critic had remarked, “Debussy shimmers, Ravel glitters.”


7 posted on 08/22/2012 11:19:59 AM PDT by COBOL2Java (FUMR)
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To: EveningStar
Art of Noise did an interesting electronic concept album around Debussy, with bits of narration by John Hurt. It was described as "the soundtrack to a film that was never made about the life of Claude Debussy". Interesting, and if you have access to the CD a very high quality recording (produced by Trevor Horn).
8 posted on 08/22/2012 11:55:00 AM PDT by avenir (I'm pessimistic about man, but I'm optimistic about GOD!)
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To: avenir
And then there's Isao Tomita's album Snowflakes Are Dancing. Debussy done as Space Rock.
9 posted on 08/22/2012 12:11:17 PM PDT by Erasmus (Zwischen des Teufels und des tiefen, blauen Meers)
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To: Old North State
I think a comment he once made, that ‘the music is the stuff between the notes’ goes a long way to explaining his approach.

Or as Miles said, "Don't play what's there; play what's not there."

10 posted on 08/22/2012 12:13:54 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Erasmus
And then there's Isao Tomita's album Snowflakes Are Dancing. Debussy done as Space Rock.

Loved it. Wore it out. Still have it.

11 posted on 08/22/2012 12:27:11 PM PDT by Albion Wilde (Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it. -- George Bernard Shaw)
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To: arrogantsob
Um... "Daphnis & Choloe" is by Ravel. You must be thinking of "Prelude a l′Après-midi d′un Faune" which is a beautiful orchestral work and gets played quite often. His piano compositions "Preludes, Book 1 and 2" and "Images, Set 1 and 2" as well as "Estampes" are absolutely gorgeous. He is the only composer to compose in such as way as to make the piano seem more like a harp than like the percussion instrument that it is.
12 posted on 08/22/2012 12:28:55 PM PDT by nanetteclaret (Unreconstructed Catholic Texan)
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To: nanetteclaret

His goal was the sound of a ‘piano without hammers’.


13 posted on 08/22/2012 12:50:56 PM PDT by Borges
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To: sitetest
XM Classical 76 usually does a birthday bash for the notables but nothing today for Debussy... at least not that i heard, shame on them
14 posted on 08/22/2012 3:02:35 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: EveningStar

I adore Debussy, even if I don’t program or perform him often.

Except for “Suite Bergamasque” which gets put on at least one recital program every year. This suite for solo piano includes the iconic “Claire de Lune.

He wrote so fluidly for the piano and was a master orchestrator he only wrote one work for both together, and its not a traditional concerto, but rather a Fantasie for Piano and Orchestra. I played that last in 2004. Its terrific.


15 posted on 08/22/2012 5:37:07 PM PDT by Emperor Palpatine (que)
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To: Erasmus

Thanks, I’ll check it out.


16 posted on 08/22/2012 8:07:07 PM PDT by avenir (I'm pessimistic about man, but I'm optimistic about GOD!)
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To: COBOL2Java
Have you ever heard of pianist Branka Parlic?

She plays Philip Glass's Metamorphosis 5, beautifully!! This melody was played on Battlestar Galatica, of all places, where I first heard it. I fell in love with it.

17 posted on 08/22/2012 8:27:25 PM PDT by nicmarlo
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To: nanetteclaret
You are correct about Ravel. Of course, he and Debussy are practically always associated together.

When you look at the piano from above it IS a harp laid on its side. I never realized that until looking down on the stage at Orchestra Hall one evening.

Wonder why D never wrote any piano concertos (at least any part of the common repertoire) or symphonies.

18 posted on 08/22/2012 9:54:06 PM PDT by arrogantsob (Obama MUST Go. Sarah herself supports Romney.)
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To: Borges

That could very well be but his works are rather few compared to the Big Guys. And they are not as well known to the ordinary music lover as others.

I love Charles Ives but few have heard his music either.


19 posted on 08/22/2012 9:58:54 PM PDT by arrogantsob (Obama MUST Go. Sarah herself supports Romney.)
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To: COBOL2Java

I agree.

D’s piano music is unsurpassed as seduction music.


20 posted on 08/22/2012 10:00:29 PM PDT by arrogantsob (Obama MUST Go. Sarah herself supports Romney.)
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To: nicmarlo
Will definitely get a recording of her performance - thanks for the recommendation!

Found this review online.

21 posted on 08/23/2012 4:12:59 AM PDT by COBOL2Java (FUMR)
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To: arrogantsob
I love Charles Ives but few have heard his music either.

More's the pity. I enjoy his symphonies, even his student first. The third movement of his fourth is an absolutely beautiful fugue.

22 posted on 08/23/2012 4:24:10 AM PDT by COBOL2Java (FUMR)
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To: arrogantsob

He was probably the greatest composer of his generation just as they were of their’s.


23 posted on 08/23/2012 7:13:59 AM PDT by Borges
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To: arrogantsob

I don’t think it’s a huge deal that Debussy didn’t write symphonies or concertos, because he did write 4 ballets, numerous orchestral works, numerous compositions for voice and orchestra (such as “Printemps”), for instrument (such as clarinet, piano, harp) and orchestra, numerous solo piano works, chamber music (such as “Danses sacrée et profane”), piano works for 4 hands or 2 pianos, works for voice and piano, and works for a cappella voice. Maybe he just didn’t like the symphonic and concerto forms and prefered more non-structured forms.


24 posted on 08/23/2012 8:48:23 AM PDT by nanetteclaret (Unreconstructed Catholic Texan)
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To: Borges

If you are referring basically to the last half of the 19th century-early 20th for that to be true you would have to throw out Puccini. I also prefer Richard Strauss but I’m drawn to bombast. I got to see Ein Heldenleiben this season by the CSO at Orchestra Hall. The sound of that orchestra is the closest one can get to Heaven and still be mortal.

Assuming your statement is true my point is that the former were the greatest of all generations. At least as classical music is concerned.


25 posted on 08/23/2012 11:57:35 AM PDT by arrogantsob (Obama MUST Go. Sarah herself supports Romney.)
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To: COBOL2Java

The Fourth is one of my favorite pieces of music. I hope I can hold out long enough to get to see it performed at Orchestra Hall.


26 posted on 08/23/2012 12:00:19 PM PDT by arrogantsob (Obama MUST Go. Sarah herself supports Romney.)
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To: nanetteclaret

It seemed as though one was not considered a major composer until he had created a symphony, a concerto or an opera. Although D did compose an opera, I believe.


27 posted on 08/23/2012 12:10:01 PM PDT by arrogantsob (Obama MUST Go. Sarah herself supports Romney.)
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To: arrogantsob

I would put Debussy above Puccini without any problem...the latter is more of a populist composer ala Rachmaninov than a innovator ala Debussy and Mahler.


28 posted on 08/23/2012 1:01:46 PM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges

It is those “populists” who sell tickets. I am not a huge opera lover but I have to say Puccini had a hell of a lot of good tunes. I would also think Mahler is more highly considered than Debussy. Not by me.


29 posted on 08/23/2012 1:34:19 PM PDT by arrogantsob (Obama MUST Go. Sarah herself supports Romney.)
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To: arrogantsob

I would Debussy and Mahler are pretty much equally regarded at this point. Mahler is performed more because he wrote more readily performable orchestral repertoire.


30 posted on 08/23/2012 1:48:12 PM PDT by Borges
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