Academic journal article Journal of Singing

Debussy, Claude (1862-1918). Three Songs for Madame Vasnier

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

Debussy, Claude (1862-1918). Three Songs for Madame Vasnier

Article excerpt

DEBUSSY, CLAUDE (1862-1918). THREE SONGS FOR MADAME VASNIER. Edited by Nigel Foster with an introduction, notes, and translations. London Song Festival Publications, Nigel Foster, 2013 (Classical Vocal Reprints).

1. "Caprice" (Théodore de Banville). F# major; D^sub 4^-A[musical flat]^sub 5^; Tess: CR; 3/4; V/M, P/M; 3 pages.

2. "Rondel Chinois" (attributed to Marius Dillard). A minor; B^sub 3^-C^sub 6^; Tess: CR; 2/4; V/D, P/M; 4 pages.

3. "La fille cheveux de lin" (Leconte de Lisle). G[musical flat], major; D[musical flat]^sub 4^-B[musical flat]5; Tess: mH-H; 2/4, Tempo di Fantasia; V/D, P/mD; 7 pages.

In 1880 Debussy was 18 years old and a student at the Paris Conservatoire. Needing money, he began accompanying in the voice studio of Madame Moreau-Sainti, where he met Madame Marie-Blanche Vasnier, a high coloratura soprano with striking red hair and green eyes. Madame Vasnier introduced the young pianist to her husband, Henri, a stroke of good fortune for the young musician. He became a frequent visitor in the Vasnier's home, and Henri supported Debussy financially for several years, introducing him to the cultural life of Paris and helping him become known in that world.

Soon after they met, Debussy began writing songs for Madame Vasnier, many of which had extremely sensuous texts. Some of these early songs eventually were published as Fêtes galantes and Quatre chansons de jeunesse, among others. …

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