Weekend 560.0 (Music-Drama Vinyl Saturday)

Pelléas and Mélisande

“Phonographic editions of this masterpiece are going to help make perceptible to a greatly broadened public those elementary truths that even many naïve and badly informed music-lovers do not yet suspect. Bu making this work of the theatre penetrate into the intimacy of the home, the long-playing record is once again going to fulfill its noble mission, which consists of dissipating misunderstandings, enlightening consciousness, and even sometimes correcting miscarriages of justice…”

This is absolutely beautiful prose.

“…the shades of the lime-tree and the rose in the darkness—these were living forces which made all nature participate in the action. This magic fusion of the visible and the invisible created an irresistible fascination that tyrannically seized on sensibilities tuned to this pitch.”

“Not very sociable, but dreamy and meditative, he had always surprised his companions—who had nicknamed him the Prince of Darkness—by his flashing harmonic discoveries and his obstinate non-conformism.”

Source: Émile Vuillermoz

After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art | Exhibitions | National Gallery, London
Debussy plays Debussy | Clair de Lune (1913) (YouTube)
Frog-shaped memento which belonged to Claude Debussy (1862-1918) (Bridgeman Art Library)
Claude Debussy composed only in the company of his childhood porcelain frog (CSM)


I saw the documentary last night at Curzon Bloomsbury. It was wonderfully done and if you are a child of the 80s it’s almost in the don’t miss category. What I loved about the documentary is that it was completely apolitical. There WAS no commentary on Thatcher or Reagan or the Cold War or AIDS. It didn’t focus on any of the other worn-out and overdone BS about musicians and artists as self-righteous change agents who use their platforms to launch movements. There was nothing in the documentary about addiction or other bizarre behavior as the pinnacle of fame fades. Did the band somehow manage to escape those pitfalls or did the director / producer just choose to ignore those chapters? It doesn’t necessarily matter in the end because this film was about friends in a very complicated long-term relationship who are connected by their LOVE (all CAPS) of music. I’m OK not knowing the true-story and actually hope their lives were as “normal” as those portrayed on the big screen.