Music Composers

Claude Debussy-Part 5

It must be owned that Debussy was not only eccentric in his music, but also in private life. He was unapproachable to strangers; he observed the utmost reticence regarding the intimate details of his career and existence; he sheltered himself from publicity and advertisement. He was of the opinion that "to seers of visions a certain loneliness is inevitable." "L'ame d'autrui," he said, "est une foret obscure ou it faut marcher avee precaution." It was a kind of religion to him to be original above suspicion. "Me thinks," he said, "it spoils an artist to be in sympathy with his surroundings. I am always afraid of his thus becoming the interpreter of his own milieu. Go not to others for advice, but take counsel from the passing breezes which relate the story of the world to those who listen."

He disliked unnecessary applause, and he remarked: "Sachez donc qu'une veridique impression de beaute ne pondrait avoir d'aurte effet que le silence. Enfin voyons quand vous assistez a cete feerie questidienne qu'est la mort de soleil avez vous eu jamais la pensee d'applaudir. Vous en avourez que c'est pourtant d'un developpement un peu plus imprevu que toutes vos petites histoire sonores."

To a pressing request from the editor of Le Monde Musical for his likeness on the morrow of the success of Pelleas et Melisande, he answered: "Willingly, and you receive the only one that has been taken. But I tell you beforehand when I sat to a photographer I was two years old and since then I have changed a little!" The portrait of Debussy generally known is taken from a picture of Blanche, which idealizes very much the rather clumsy and corpulent features of the real Debussy.

The Etude Magazine February 1921





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