Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year and Happy Anniversary to Claude Debussy (1862-1918)


Debussy will be 150 this year. Little of his music qualifies as obscure; his cause hardly needs pleading as did Liszt's in 2011 - and 2012. Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune is well-nigh universally accepted, however worthy the other claimants and however many questions this phrase might beg, as the first work of 'modern music'. Yet, worship though we might at the ever-ambiguous shrine of Pelléas et Mélisande, the music for Debussy's second, incomplete Edgar Allen Poe opera, La Chute de la maison Usher understandably remains much less well-known. Here is the realisation of the Prelude and first two scenes by Juan Allende Blin. Georges Prêtre conducts the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra; the singers are Christine Barbaux (Lady Madeline), François Le Roux (Doctor), Pierre-Yves Le Maigat (Friend), and Jean-Philippe Lafont (Roderick). A house of horrors very different from, and yet clearly akin to, that of Allemonde:



3 comments:

The Unrepentant Pelleastrian said...

Hi Mark,

"Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune is well-nigh universally accepted, however worthy the other claimants and however many questions this phrase might beg, as the first work of 'modern music"

Even if it were (and it is questionable) we music lovers ultimately should only be interested in music's personality and not whether a particular work was or is perceived as futuristic or modern.

"Yet, worship though we might at the ever-ambiguous shrine of Pelléas et Mélisande"

And the ones that truly do will always be a small minority of the opera world.

(All the best in 2012!)

Curtis Rogers said...

A few outings of Le martyre de Saint Sebastien this year won't go amiss either, hopefully in a fully staged and complete version.

The Wagnerian said...

Sometimes I bemoan the relatively few performances of Wagner there are -compared to Puccini for example - but this is nothing compared to the struggle of finding a performance of Pelléas. Even in 2012 when the opera world should be "buzzing" with Pelléas' there are only around 4 productions around the world. A very sad state of affairs.