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Debussy and the Acte en vers - Professor Richard Langham SmithAdd to Queue

Course :  Debussy: Texts and Ideas

  • Posted by : GreshamCollege

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  • Date posted : Jan 01, 1970


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Until recently Debussy's heritage has been skewed by our lack of knowledge of his youthful compositions. The revelation of Diane au bois is an important step forward in rebalancing our knowledge of his mature work with his youthful preoccupations. However, like many of Debussy's works, its genre is too readily defined as a 'cantata'. Examination of the sources and context of Banville's 'comdie' reveals the work as potentially dramatic, an 'acte en vers' which in turn inspired a tribute in a similar form by Stphane Mallarm. This lecture examines some musical aspects of Diane au bois and the ways in which its dramatic form was developed in subsequent works, particularly the two operas Rodrigue et Chimne and Pellas. It also adds some observations to the discussion of its relationship to Debussy's Faune and to the wider context of Debussy's Hellenistic interests, too often overshadowed by the umbrella terms 'Impressionism' and 'Symbolism'. This is a part of the conference, 'Debussy: Text and Ideas', which is available in full on the Gresham College website. The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website: http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/debussy-text-and-ideas-part-three Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website. http://www.gresham.ac.uk

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