3. Debussy: Prélude à L'après Midi D'un Faune

1394 words - 6 pages

Debussy was the most important French composer in the early twentieth- century. He was born in the town of St. Germain-en-Laye which is near Paris. At his early lifetime, he was a fan of Wagner. His early works in which the Wagnerian influence is most obvious are La damoiselleelue and the Cinqpoemes de Baudelaire but soon he feel bored in Wagner's Ring cycle.[2: Forney, Kristine, and Joseph Machlis, The Enjoyment of Music, 291][3: Grove Music Dictionary][4: Forney, Kristine, and Joseph Machlis, The Enjoyment of Music, 291]His leaving from Wagnerian turned him to seek for his personal style, it is Impressionism. His attraction in this new exotic art was happened when he first saw Javanese Gamelan. Gamelan is an ensemble which is mainly with percussion instruments. It is definitely a new musical path for Debussy in the idea of melody, appropriate rhythm and also harmony. The label 'Impressionist' is the word which usually associated with Debussy's works. The one who first called Debussy's music as 'Impressionist' was the members of the Institut de France, however, Debussy did not like the term at all when it applied to his work. Instead, he refer 'Impressionist' is the only least term that can be described by those people. [5: Vallas, Leon, Maire Brien, and Grace Brien. Claude Debussy, his life and works, 59][6: Grove Music Dictionary]In fact, Impressionism first occurred in France. At that time, composers widely used exotic scales like chromatic scales, whole-tone scale and also pentatonic scales. They liked to use short lyric forms instead of the dramatic themes. In Debussy's works, not only those new items appeared. Being infected by the French impressionist painters as well as symbolist poets, he was totally inspired by literary and pictorial ideas. Most of his compositions have descriptive titles too. Poetry is the important and major extra-musical structure in his musical language. Debussy's first best known orchestral work or instrumental masterpiece Prelude a L'apres-midi d'un faune, is the one which is the best representation of his Impressionism music. It is based on a symphonic poem which was inspired by a symbolist writer, Stephane Mallarme. Besides, it is totally a new art form that different from what we hear in classical or even romantic period. Facing the new art form, there are some opinions from public. [7: Forney, Kristine, and Joseph Machlis, The Enjoyment of Music, 288-289][8: Grove Music Dictionary][9: Forney, Kristine, and Joseph Machlis, The Enjoyment of Music, 290]At first, this new form of art was not very accepted by the public. It is a simple prelude which has been omitted interlude and paraphrase finale. The performances at the Societe Nationale of the Prelude a L'apres-midi d'un faune in 1894 was only known by a small circle of friends. In this prelude, the melody lines are very wide and it is based on chromatic scale. It is not like the music from Classical or Romantic period which is singable; instead, it is more...

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