Music Composers

Claude Debussy-Part 4

The same we can notice in life. One sees at times in the country some completely unadorned peasant girl, with her hair just divided in the middle after the old fashion, with an out-of-date but immaculate dress; and he finds her much more charming than if she were clad with expensive silks and laces. I meet often in these mountains of the Berkshire, where I spend my summer, a young girl wearing a framerette suit with pants, driving an old horse and a rickety wagon to the market. I must own that I find her more lovely than the most fastidiously dolled up city girl. By the by, if all women know how much more to their advantage they look attired in a neat peasant garb they would stop wasting money in expensive gowns and fineries.

For the same reason if we listen to a work of Debussy the first impression is less of real artistic enjoyment than of surprise, of amazement. We wonder at the antics, at the skylarks of this unbridled phantasy; we find it even clever, witty; but often we cannot help exclaiming: "the man must be crazy!"

Is that the ideal of art? Is it not rather to touch the innermost recesses of our heart, to have us forget the means with which a powerful effect is attained, and let us enjoy the sublime manifestation of genius undisturbed by considerations of "how" and "why?" So it happens that unbiased listeners are inclined to consider Debussy's music rather as a product of the brain than of the heart.

I will not assert, however, that his works are deprived of genius. They surely scintillate here and there, but these fulgors are rather scarce, rari mantes in gurgite vasto - too few raisins in the cake. They do not suffice for me; I like a rich cake with plenty of them.

The Etude Magazine February 1921





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