Debussy centenary

Claude Debussy

Photograph of Claude Debussy, c. 1908, by Félix Nadar. Wikimedia Commons.

Debussy died in Paris on 25th March 1918. The musical world loves a centenary, and there are plenty of events springing up around this one: BBC Radio 3 are commemorating the anniversary with their series ‘Debussy’s Paris‘. The Sage Gateshead played host to a day-long Debussy marathon.  As Susi mentioned a couple of months ago, the LSO are celebrating with a concert series. The CBSO and Birmingham Conservatoire are teaming up for ‘Debussy Festival 2018‘. Glyndebourne are performing Pelléas et Mélisande as part of their 2018 festival.

This seems like a good time to show off a few of the Debussy-related items in the MusiCB3 collections…

At the UL, Debussy is well represented in the many volumes of borrowable piano music on South Front. There is more of this than there appears to be from an iDiscover search, as some of it will be find-able only via the card catalogues in the Anderson Room. It is there, however!

Among the non-borrowable music collections (which can be ordered and viewed in the Anderson Room) is a facsimile of the autograph score of Preludes, Book 1, with an introduction by the pianist and musicologist Roy Howat (MR472.b.95.30) there is also a copy of this in the Dent Room over at the Pendlebury Library, which also holds Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un Faune in facsimile (XPa.842.86D.P).

There is plenty of borrowable music literature to do with Debussy to be found in the collections, both at the UL and at the Pendlebury. One of the most recent additions to the book stock at the Pendlebury is the volume Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande : the staging by Albert Carré by Michela Niccolai and translated by Lesley Wright, published in 2017 (Pb.704.86D.N1). The library also holds DVDs of two productions of Pelléas et Mélisande, one the Welsh National Opera conducted by Pierre Boulez, and another Lyon Opera conducted by John Eliot Gardiner. A full score of Pelléas is at Pb.260.86D.P5.

Although Pelléas was Debussy’s only completed opera, he left various sketches of others, including one based on Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Fall of the House of Usher. A reconstruction of this by Robert Orledge combines ballet with opera, with each role being played by both a singer and a dancer. Roderick Usher, for example, is sung by Scott Hendricks and danced by Steven McRae (DVD.C.123).

There are lots more recordings of Debussy’s music available on CD at the Pendlebury, and yet more can be found on the Naxos Music Library, including this disc just released for the centenary by the pianist Vincent Lardaret. 

Talking of online resources, our new subscription to the Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall places even more Debussy at your fingertips…









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1 Response to Debussy centenary

  1. Pingback: L’après-midi de Monsieur Croche: Claude Debussy (1862-1918) | MusiCB3 Blog

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