By Simon Trezise
L. a. mer stands on the centre of Debussy's fulfillment: defined via the composer as 'a seascape with no figures', it's arguably the best and most unusual French symphony. during this examine l. a. mer is taken into account within the context of Debussy's own and musical improvement, and within the French musical renaissance in most cases, in retrospect to César Franck and ahead to the orchestral photos and Jeux. the writer makes use of new biographical info and quite a lot of resources to bare the interval of los angeles mer's composition as one in every of excessive emotional turbulence. unique dialogue of functionality kinds attracts on present recordings, and analytical chapters hint the expansion of principles during the paintings. reviews of rhythm, motif and tonality convey how Debussy generates 'narratives' around the 3 events, which provide l. a. mer a structural integrity unheard of in French tune on the flip of the century.
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Extra info for Debussy: La Mer (Cambridge Music Handbooks)
Apart from Debussy's marital misconduct, many who were keen on Pelleas et Melisande were upset by the marked change in the composer's style. Where the sea had been remote and muted in the opera, it now sounded strident and forward. Debussy had moved on. An intriguing review came from a critic who had, after some persuasion, been a staunch supporter of Pelleas. Pierre Lalo failed to hear the sea: Think of the grotto scene in Pelleas: a few chords and a single orchestral rhythm give you the entire atmosphere of night and of the sea .
Deviations from the score vary: the majority of conductors make a substantial rit. in bar 63 and begin the gradual accel. afresh in bar 65, a few simply ignore the instruction altogether (not those sampled), and most carry the accel. beyond the Tempo primo of bar 72, often making a striking increase in speed at the start of, or during, the ostinato of bars 94ff. Coppola and Toscanini are extreme in the range of tempos used: both increase the pulse by around fifty percent between bars 56 and 118.
Many came to regard this as the real first performance of La mer. As well as having in the composer a sympathetic interpreter, the climate in Paris had changed: Debussy's sexual misdemeanours were no longer the main concern - these had been forgotten in the wave of Debussyism now sweeping France. ValeryRadot recalled the great event: I remember this Sunday where, at three o'clock, at the Chatelet, Debussy appeared from behind the desks of the violins. A sort of frenetic delirium arose from the Debussyists spread around the hall.