Debussy: La Mer

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Cambridge University Press, 1994 - Music - 109 pages
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La mer stands at the centre of Debussy's achievement: described by the composer as 'a seascape without figures', it is arguably the greatest and most original French symphony. In this study La mer is considered in the context of Debussy's personal and musical development, and in the French musical renaissance in general, looking back to CÚsar Franck and forward to the orchestral Images and Jeux. The author uses new biographical information and a wide range of sources to reveal the period of La mer's composition as one of intense emotional turbulence. Detailed discussion of performance styles draws on current recordings, and two analytical chapters trace the growth of ideas through the work. Studies of rhythm, motif and tonality show how Debussy generates 'narratives' across the three movements, which give La mer a structural integrity unparalleled in French music at the turn of the century.
  

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Contents

Debussy 19031905
1
Works
7
Genesis
11
Second thoughts
16
La mer in performance
19
Paris
24
Performance styles
26
The invisible sentiments of nature
32
Design
51
Synopsis
53
Material and immaterial music
75
Rhythm and rhythmicised time
76
Motif and arabesque
82
Tonality
86
Afterword
96
Notes
98

Impressionism
35
Programme
37
Genre and style
45
Sources of La mers musical style
48

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About the author (1994)

Simon Trezise is a Lecturer in Music at Trinity College, Dublin. He is the author of Debussy: La mer in the series Cambridge Music Handbooks and has written widely on French music and also on Schoenberg.

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