Frasi di Claude Debussy

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Claude Debussy

Data di nascita: 22. Agosto 1862
Data di morte: 25. Marzo 1918
Altri nomi: Claude A. Debussy, Claude Achille Debussy

Claude-Achille Debussy è stato un pianista e compositore francese. È considerato e celebrato in patria e nel mondo come uno dei più importanti compositori francesi, nonché uno dei massimi protagonisti del simbolismo musicale. Debussy, come il Mila ci conferma, viene anche identificato nell' "impressionismo musicale", anche se lo stesso compositore ne nega l'appartenenza nonostante le chiare influenze simboliste di Verlaine e Mallarmé.

Rudolph Réti ha dichiarato che l'impresa di Debussy fu la sintesi della "tonalità melodica" a base monofonica con le armonie, sebbene diverse da quelle della "tonalità armonica".

Foto: Nadar / Public domain

„Odio le folle, il suffragio universale e le frasi tricolori“

—  Claude Debussy

...
Citato in Lucien Rebatet, Une histoire de la musique

„[…] un'arte essenzialmente di apparato e di cerimonia“

—  Claude Debussy

...
Citato in Lucien Rebatet, Une histoire de la musique

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„It is necessary to abandon yourself completely, and let the music do as it will with you.“

—  Claude Debussy

As quoted in The Cambridge Companion to Debussy (2003) by Simon Trezise, p. 120
Contesto: It is necessary to abandon yourself completely, and let the music do as it will with you. All people come to music to seek oblivion.

„I want no purely musical developments which are not called for inevitably by the text. In opera there is always too much singing. Music should be as swift and mobile as the words themselves.“

—  Claude Debussy

As quoted in Debussy (1989) by Paul Holmes, p. 36
Contesto: Music would take over at the point at which words become powerless, with the one and only object of expressing that which nothing but music could express. For this, I need a text by a poet who, resorting to discreet suggestion rather than full statement, will enable me to graft my dream upon his dream — who will give me plain human beings in a setting belonging to no particular period or country. … Then I do not wish my music to drown the words, nor to delay the course of the action. I want no purely musical developments which are not called for inevitably by the text. In opera there is always too much singing. Music should be as swift and mobile as the words themselves.

„Collect impressions. Don’t be in a hurry to write them down.“

—  Claude Debussy

Debussy in a letter to his pupil Raoul Bardac (1906)
Contesto: Collect impressions. Don’t be in a hurry to write them down. Because that’s something music can do better than painting: it can centralise variations of colour and light within a single picture — a truth generally ignored, obvious as it is.

„Music should humbly seek to please; within these limits great beauty may perhaps be found.“

—  Claude Debussy

Quoted in French Music : From the Death of Berlioz to the Death of Fauré (1951) by Martin Cooper, p. 136, and in Debussy and Wagner (1979) by Robin Holloway, p. 207
Contesto: Music should humbly seek to please; within these limits great beauty may perhaps be found. Extreme complication is contrary to art. Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part.

„I confess that I am no longer thinking in musical terms, or at least not much, even though I believe with all my heart that Music remains for all time the finest means of expression we have.“

—  Claude Debussy

Letter to Paul Dukas (1901)
Contesto: I confess that I am no longer thinking in musical terms, or at least not much, even though I believe with all my heart that Music remains for all time the finest means of expression we have. It’s just that I find the actual pieces — whether they’re old or modern, which is in any case merely a matter of dates — so totally poverty-stricken, manifesting an inability to see beyond the work-table. They smell of the lamp, not of the sun. And then, overshadowing everything, there’s the desire to amaze one’s colleagues with arresting harmonies, quite unnecessary for the most part. In short, these days especially, music is devoid of emotional impact. I feel that, without descending to the level of the gossip column or the novel, it should be possible to solve the problem somehow. There’s no need either for music to make people think! … It would be enough if music could make people listen, despite themselves and despite their petty mundane troubles, and never mind if they’re incapable of expressing anything resembling an opinion. It would be enough if they could no longer recognize their own grey, dull faces, if they felt that for a moment they had been dreaming of an imaginary country, that’s to say, one that can’t be found on the map.

„Music is a mysterious mathematical process whose elements are part of Infinity. … There is nothing more musical than a sunset.“

—  Claude Debussy

As quoted in The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music (1996) by Don Michael Randel
Contesto: Music is a mysterious mathematical process whose elements are part of Infinity. … There is nothing more musical than a sunset. He who feels what he sees will find no more beautiful example of development in all that book which, alas, musicians read but too little — the book of Nature.

„I do not practise religion in accordance with the sacred rites. I have made mysterious Nature my religion.“

—  Claude Debussy

As quoted in Claude Debussy: His Life and Works (1933) by Léon Vallas, p. 225
Variant translation: Before the passing sky, in long hours of contemplation of its magnificent and ever-changing beauty, I am seized by an incomparable emotion. The whole expanse of nature is reflected in my own sincere and feeble soul. Around me the branches of trees reach out toward the firmament, here are sweet-scented flowers smiling in the meadow, here the soft earth is carpeted with sweet herbs. … Nature invites its ephemeral and trembling travelers to experience these wonderful and disturbing spectacles — that is what I call prayer.
As quoted in The Life of the Creative Spirit (2001) by H. Charles Romesburg, p. 240
Contesto: I do not practise religion in accordance with the sacred rites. I have made mysterious Nature my religion. I do not believe that a man is any nearer to God for being clad in priestly garments, nor that one place in a town is better adapted to meditation than another. When I gaze at a sunset sky and spend hours contemplating its marvelous ever-changing beauty, an extraordinary emotion overwhelms me. Nature in all its vastness is truthfully reflected in my sincere though feeble soul. Around me are the trees stretching up their branches to the skies, the perfumed flowers gladdening the meadow, the gentle grass-carpetted earth, … and my hands unconsciously assume an attitude of adoration. … To feel the supreme and moving beauty of the spectacle to which Nature invites her ephemeral guests! … that is what I call prayer.

„There’s no need either for music to make people think! … It would be enough if music could make people listen“

—  Claude Debussy

Letter to Paul Dukas (1901)
Contesto: I confess that I am no longer thinking in musical terms, or at least not much, even though I believe with all my heart that Music remains for all time the finest means of expression we have. It’s just that I find the actual pieces — whether they’re old or modern, which is in any case merely a matter of dates — so totally poverty-stricken, manifesting an inability to see beyond the work-table. They smell of the lamp, not of the sun. And then, overshadowing everything, there’s the desire to amaze one’s colleagues with arresting harmonies, quite unnecessary for the most part. In short, these days especially, music is devoid of emotional impact. I feel that, without descending to the level of the gossip column or the novel, it should be possible to solve the problem somehow. There’s no need either for music to make people think! … It would be enough if music could make people listen, despite themselves and despite their petty mundane troubles, and never mind if they’re incapable of expressing anything resembling an opinion. It would be enough if they could no longer recognize their own grey, dull faces, if they felt that for a moment they had been dreaming of an imaginary country, that’s to say, one that can’t be found on the map.

„Works of art make rules but rules do not make works of art.“

—  Claude Debussy

As quoted in Companion to Contemporary Musical Thought (1992) by John Paynter, p. 590
Unsourced variant: Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.

„Music is the space between the notes.“

—  Claude Debussy

As quoted in Turning Numbers into Knowledge: Mastering the Art of Problem Solving (2001) by Jonathan G. Koomey, p. 96; since at least 2010 similar statements are also sometimes attributed to Mozart, and a similar remark, apparently one of Ben Jonson, is quoted in "Notes to Cynthia's Revels, in The Works of Ben Jonson: With Notes Critical and Explanatory, and a Biographical Memoir (1875), edited by William Gifford, Vol. 2, in notes to p. 223, on p. 551: Division, in music, is "the space between the notes of music, or the dividing of the tones."
Unsourced variants:
Music is the silence between the notes.
The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.
The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between them.
Variante: Music is the space between the notes.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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