It was first performed in Paris on 22 Decemberconducted by Gustave Doret. Debussy's work later provided the basis for the ballet Afternoon of a Faun choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky and a later version by Jerome Robbins.
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It is one of Debussy's most famous works and is considered a turning point in the history of music. Pierre Boulez considered the score to be the beginning of modern musicobserving that "the flute of the faun brought new breath to the art of music.
By no means does it claim to be a synthesis of it. Rather there is a succession of scenes through which pass the desires and dreams of the faun in the heat of the afternoon. Then, tired of pursuing the timorous flight of nymphs and naiadshe succumbs to intoxicating sleep, in which he can finally realize his dreams of possession in universal Nature.
He believed that his own music was sufficient, and that even with the best intentions in the world, it was a veritable crime as far as poetry was concerned to juxtapose poetry and music, even if it were the finest music there is. Your illustration of the Afternoon of a Faun, which presents a L apres midi de deux faunes with my text only by going much further, really, into nostalgia and into light, with finesse, with sensuality, with richness.
I press your hand admiringly, Debussy. Eh] 2 2 — 4 0 0 0 — 1perc[crot] — 2hp — str 10'. Though called a "prelude," the work is nevertheless complete — an evocation of the feelings of the poem as a whole.
A close analysis of the piece reveals a high amount of consciousness of composition on Debussy's part. The main musical themes are introduced by woodwindswith delicate but harmonically advanced underpinnings of muted hornsstrings and harp.
Recurring tools in Debussy's compositional arsenal make appearances in this piece: The opening flute solo consists of a semitone descent to a tritone below the original pitch, and the subsequent ascent. The development of the slow main theme transitions smoothly between 9 86 8and 12 8 meters.
Debussy enacts voicings and shading in his orchestration to a high degree, allowing the main melodic cell to move from solo flute to oboeback to solo flute, then two unison flutes yielding a completely different atmosphere to the melodythen clarinetetc.
Even the accompaniment explores alternate voicings: The composition totals bars. The second section in D-flat starts at bar 55, exactly halfway through the work.
It proved to be highly controversial because of the dancers' non-traditional movements and because of a moment in which the faun appears to masturbate. Ina ballet version by Jerome Robbins was made, which has been frequently performed by many companies. The performance took place 27 October From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the musical composition by Claude Debussy.