chapter 63 debussy, faure, and boulanger

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Chapter 63 Paris in the Belle Époque: Debussy, Fauré, and Lili Boulanger

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Page 1: Chapter 63   debussy, faure, and boulanger

Chapter 63Paris in the Belle

Époque: Debussy, Fauré,

and Lili Boulanger

Page 2: Chapter 63   debussy, faure, and boulanger

Belle époque and Impressionism

• The Belle époque refers to the period in French history before and after 1900 when both popular and serious arts flourished.

• Impressionist painters/musicians of the 1870’s-1880’s (notably Claude Monet and Claude Debussy) depicted everyday scenes that reflect the motions and colors of the outdoors.

– Monet’s fondness for the image of reflecting water has its musical counterpart in Debussy’s “Reflets dans l’eau” for piano.

Page 3: Chapter 63   debussy, faure, and boulanger

Impressionism in Painting and Music

When we compare a painting such as Claude Monet’s Wild Poppies (above, 1873) to a work by Claude Debussy such as Reflets dans l’eau, we find the similarities that have led audiences from Debussy’s time to our own to refer to both as “Impressionists.”

Both favored subjects drawn from nature at its most beautiful, and both use pure colors to bring their scenery alive.

A strictness of organization beneath the surfaces of these works supports an apparent freedom above.

Most of all, both painter and musician are refined, subtle, and supremely evocative.

Page 4: Chapter 63   debussy, faure, and boulanger

The Life of Claude Debussy (1862–1918)

• 1862 - born near Paris

• 1872 - enters the Paris Conservatory

• 1885 - wins the Prix de Rome

• 1887 - returns to Paris

• 1902 - premiere of opera Pelléas et Mélisande

• 1918 - dies in Paris

Page 5: Chapter 63   debussy, faure, and boulanger

Claude Debussy• Even in his lifetime, Debussy was referred to as a

“musical impressionist” – though he did not accept this term as a good

description of his music.

• Debussy major innovations included the suppression of functional harmonies– despite his continued use of triads and seventh and

ninths chords.

• Much of his diatonic music alternates with use of:– whole tone– octatonic (8-note)– pentatonic (5-note) scales.

• Was a true master of orchestral music.

Page 6: Chapter 63   debussy, faure, and boulanger

Principal Compositions by Claude Debussy

• Piano: character pieces including Preludes and Etudes

• Songs: some 60

• Chamber music: including– String Quartet– Sonata for cello and piano– Sonata for flute, viola, and harp– Sonata for violin and piano

• Orchestra: tone poems and character pieces including– Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun– Three Nocturnes– La Mer (The Sea)

• Opera and ballet:– Pelléas et Mélisande (opera)– Jeux (ballet)

Page 7: Chapter 63   debussy, faure, and boulanger

Claude Debussy, “En sourdine,” 1891, from Fêtes galantes I

Through-composed or free rounded binary form

Page 8: Chapter 63   debussy, faure, and boulanger

Claude Debussy, “Reflets dans l’eau” from Images I for piano, 1905

Free form (with elements of sonata form)

Page 9: Chapter 63   debussy, faure, and boulanger

Claude Debussy, “Nuages,” from Three Nocturnes for orchestra, 1900

Rounded Binary form

Page 10: Chapter 63   debussy, faure, and boulanger

The Life of Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924)

• 1845 - born in a village in south-central France

• 1854 - studies church music in Paris

• 1866 - begins the career of church organist and choir director

• 1874 - appointed choirmaster at Church of the Madeleine in Paris (later becomes its

organist)

• 1905 - appointed professor at the Paris Conservatory (later its Director)

• 1924 - dies in Paris

Page 11: Chapter 63   debussy, faure, and boulanger

Principal Compositions of Gabriel Fauré

• Songs: over 100

• Dramatic music: operas and incidental music to plays (including Maeterlinck’s Pelléas et Mélisande)

• Chorus: motets and a Requiem (1877, later revised)

• Chamber music: sonatas for violin and for cello, music with piano

• Piano: nocturnes, impromptus, barcarolles; Dolly for piano four hands

Page 12: Chapter 63   debussy, faure, and boulanger

Characteristics of Gabriel Fauré’s Music

• Debussy’s older contemporary, Gabriel Fauré composed music in a more conventional romantic style.

• His music was notable for:– its warmth– lyricism– harmonies

• influenced by the expressive music of Wagner.

Page 13: Chapter 63   debussy, faure, and boulanger

Gabriel Fauré, “Dans la forêt de septembre,” 1902 Rondo form

Page 14: Chapter 63   debussy, faure, and boulanger

The Life of Lili Boulanger (1893–1918)

• 1893 - born in Paris to family of leading musicians

• 1898 - enrolls at the Paris Conservatory, studies with Gabriel Fauré

• 1913 - wins the Prix de Rome– the first female composer to be so

honored

• 1918 - dies in Paris of Crohn’s disease, age of 24

Page 15: Chapter 63   debussy, faure, and boulanger

Characteristics of Lili Boulanger’s Music

• Lili Boulanger was a younger contemporary of Debussy – who more eagerly adopted his

advances in harmony and tonality.

• She was also very much influenced by Fauré’s melodiousness– continued to use him as a model.

Page 16: Chapter 63   debussy, faure, and boulanger

Principal Compositions by Lili Boulanger

• Chorus: several pieces for the church; cantata

Faust et Helène

• Piano: preludes, variations, character pieces

• Songs: include the cycle Clairières dans le ciel

Page 17: Chapter 63   debussy, faure, and boulanger

Lili Boulanger, “Elle est gravement gaie” from Clairières dans le ciel,

1914Rounded Binary form