Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Debussy: Nocturnes, Premiere Rhapsodie, Jeux, La Mer

"On May 15, 1913, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, just two weeks before the premiere of Stravinsky’s 'Rite of Spring' provoked a riot among outraged audience members, the Ballets Russes presented the premiere of another daring ballet, ... Debussy’s 'Jeux.' ... Compared with 'The Rite,' a ballet depicting primitive pagan dance rituals, the scenario for 'Jeux' was fairly tame. ... Still, dangerous eroticism lurks below the surface of 'Jeux,' and in its subtler way Debussy’s music is just as radical as Stravinsky’s, if not more so. ... As Edward Lockspeiser wrote in his important book on Debussy, first published in 1936, some critics 'see in the audacious harmony of "Jeux" the origin of the polytonal passages of "Le Sacre"': moments where a theme is heard simultaneously in clashing keys. Lockspeiser went further, arguing that passages of 'Jeux' also point 'to the 12-note system of Schoenberg.' ... Pierre Boulez, who recorded the work brilliantly with the Cleveland Orchestra in the early 1990s, wrote that this influential score signaled 'the arrival of a kind of musical form which, renewing itself from moment to moment, implies a similarly instantaneous mode of perception'" (Anthony Tommasini, "Shocking or Subtle, Still Radical," New York Times, 9/18/12).

View catalog record here!


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