Posted at 9:06 PM on August 22, 2012
by John Birge
Inspired by Debussy's 150th birthday anniversary this week, every morning at 8:30 we'll play a composition by Debussy inspired by some specific place. Today we find him in at the museum. After hearing Souvenir du Louvre, there's also L'Isle Joyeuse ("The Joyous Isle"), Debussy's musical interpretation of a famous painting there: L'Embarquement pour Cythere ("Voyage to Cythera"):
This painting is one of Antoine Watteau's favorite subjects, known as fêtes galantes ("scenes of gallantry"), in which elegant court ladies and gentlemen pass their time in pleasant dalliance among trees and shrubbery. Cythera was the island where Aphrodite (goddess of erotic love) first stepped after being born from the seafoam.
I have so loved this last week's tribute to Claude Debussy. I wanted to just say how much I enjoyed seeing the different photos and paintings of Debussy during this past week. Very special.
Like many experience with classical music, one's experience with a particular piece or composer can be found in a certain moment or experience. Marcel Proust wrote so eloquently of the power of a musical phrase to carry with it entire universes of memory, like Monsieur Swan with his obsession with Odette which he associated with a particular sonata (I choose Franck's Sonata in A). But my "Vintiuell sonata" with Debussy and La Mer came after a trip on the Bob-Lo Ferry from Detroit in 1969 with a special person. La Mer became forever engrafted with the lovely passion and beauty of that day but really brought to my understanding the beauty and passion which Debussy managed to infuse into his magnificent composition.