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: