Donald Macleod explores Debussy's life and loves from the end of his student days up to his early thirties and his first masterpiece: Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune.
Donald Macleod looks at the beginnings of Debussy's career as a composer and the early love interests of his life
In the week of the centenary of the composer's death, Donald Macleod looks at the development of Debussy's career against the background of his turbulent personal life. 'At every crossroads in Debussy's life there was a woman', wrote his biographer Marcel Dietschy, and this week we meet them: from Mme Vasnier, the married singer with whom he conducted an affair during his early years as a struggling composer in Paris and Rome, to the bohemian Gaby Dupont, and his first wife Lily - who attempted suicide when Debussy left her for Emma Bardac. He would settle happily with Emma for the rest of his life, and in his prime, touring internationally as a conductor, wrote to her and their beloved daughter Chouchou, expressing his longing for home.
In Monday's programme, Donald Macleod explores Debussy's life and loves from the end of his student days up to his early thirties and his first masterpiece: Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune. His chief romantic interest during this period was Gaby Dupont, with whom the composer lived for several years in a dank attic with a borrowed piano, a bed, three chairs and a rickety table. They mingled with the who's who of the Parisian artistic and intellectual circles of the late 19th century, but with very little money coming in, their meals often consisted of bread and chocolate...
Debussy: Printemps (Suite Symphonique mvt 2)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus; Vasily Petrenko, conductor
La Damoiselle Elue
Maria Ewing, soprano; Brigitte Balleys, mezzo-soprano; London Symphony Orchestra; Claudio Abbado, conductor
Véronique Gens, soprano; Roger Vignoles, piano
String Quartet (mvt 3)
Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
Orchestre National de France, Daniele Gatti, conductor.
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