Debussy's Rites of Spring

Marie Rolf

in Rethinking Debussy

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199755639
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894932 | DOI:
Debussy's Rites of Spring

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As a student competing for the Prix de Rome and as an eventual winner of that coveted prize, Debussy was preoccupied with the subject of spring. For the Prix de Rome competitions in 1882 and 1884 he composed “Salut, printemps” and Le Printemps (“L'aimable printemps”). For his second envoi from Rome in 1887 he offered a symphonic suite entitled Printemps. Just as the 1882 and 1884 settings of Printemps served as proving grounds for the 1887 suite, so did the latter serve as a harbinger of his future works: in some ways Printemps can be viewed as a direct musical antecedent to the Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune. This chapter explores the oft-neglected Printemps, considering its importance as a preliminary essay in Debussy's quest to develop his unique compositional voice.

Keywords: Debussy; envoi; Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune; Printemps; Prix de Rome

Chapter.  9869 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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