Debussy: Musician of France

By Victor I. Seroff | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVIII
DAY OF JUDGMENT

FOR YEARS Debussy had been dismissing his "domestic dramas" as banal and "worthy of a concierge." He said this at the time of his break with Gaby and he complained in identical terms about the "scandal" that was "created" about his leaving Lily. It may have been true in reference to some newspaper stories and gossip. But when a banal story is taken by a dramatist, who, rejecting all conventions, prejudices and fiction, presents a play constructed with the most scrupulous respect for logic and sentiment, captivating in the beginning and developed to the end in its noble spirit, when its true, simple words and literal portrayal of the situation evoke tears from the most insensitive and blasé spectators and at times is so moving that it makes the whole audience rise from their seats -- then the banal story becomes a work of art.

Bataille's1La Femme Nue ("The Woman in the Nude") was a drama written as though from shorthand notes of Debussy's most intimate life.

The favorite theme of Bataille's plays was the vetue (clothed) and the nue (naked) -- the haves and have-nots -- and since, as a painter more interested in portraits than landscapes, he had a good eye, and, as a musician accomplished enough to write his own music to his plays,2 he had good ears, it was not surprising that the authenticity of his characters could not be disguised. If Lily, Debussy and Madame Bardac were mere names in the newspaper stories, Bataille

____________________
1
Henry Bataille ( 1872- 1920).
2
Le Soage d'un Soir d'Amour.

-241-

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