Jeux (Games) is the last ballet written by Claude Debussy. Described as a "poème dansé" (literally a "danced poem"), it was written for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes with choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky. Debussy initially objected to the scenario but reconsidered the commission when Diaghilev doubled the fee. Debussy wrote the score quickly, from mid-August to mid-September 1912. Robert Orledge has analysed the chronology of Debussy's composition and preserved manuscripts of the score.
Jeux premiered on 15 May 1913 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris, conducted by Pierre Monteux. The work was not well-received and was soon eclipsed by Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, which was premiered two weeks later by Diaghilev's company.
The first commercial recording was made by Victor de Sabata with the Orchestra Stabile Accademica di Santa Cecilia in 1947. A critical edition of the score, prepared by Pierre Boulez and Myriam Chimènes, was published in 1988.
There are about sixty different tempo markings in the work, enough for Émile Vuillermoz to describe the score as changing "speed and nuance every two measures". The thematic motifs of Jeux are likewise very short, often two measures long or constructed from two single-measure building blocks. L.D. Berman has analysed Jeux in the context of Debussy's earlier Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune. Jann Pasler has analysed in detail Debussy's motivic construction.
Performances & Interviews
- Debussy: Jeuxhttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01sp83s.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01sp83s.jpg2014-07-11T10:00:00.000ZIn this Proms Music Guide, Suzy Klein talks about Debussy's Jeuxhttps://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p022mrfk
Debussy: JeuxIn this Proms Music Guide, Suzy Klein talks about Debussy's Jeux