An Artist High and Low, or, Debussy and Money

Denis Herlin and Vincent Giroud

in Rethinking Debussy

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199755639
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894932 | DOI:
An Artist High and Low, or, Debussy and Money

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In June 1898 Debussy wrote to his editor Georges Hartmann, “Without wanting to create a parallel between Balzac and myself, having nothing of the scope of this literary cathedral, I have at least in common an eternal care for money and a complete ignorance of what one calls economies.” As the recently published Correspondance attests, money occupied a preponderant place in Debussy's life and is to be found not only at the heart of his professional relations with his editors, Georges Hartmann and Jacques Durand, but also in his friendships. If money weighed heavily on his private life—with Lilly and Emma Debussy—it also determined certain artistic choices and incited the composer to appear as conductor, pianist, and writer. This chapter examines Debussy's relationship with money, focusing in particular on the composer's social status, his income, his patrons, and the influence of his finances on his artistic production.

Keywords: editor; Debussy; Emma Debussy; finances; income; Jacques Durand; money; social status

Chapter.  17815 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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