Sunday, June 03, 2007


Last night a small group of us met at a friend's condominium overlooking Monroe Harbor and Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago. We had a delightful meal and settled in for an evening's listening to some of the works of Claude Debussy (1862-1918). From the orchestral splendor of La Mer and Images through the delicate pianistic impressions of Claire de Lune and the Petite Suite we thoroughly enjoyed the astonishing range of this eccentric, yet appealing, composer. The most astounding moment was when we listened to his Sonata for Cello and Piano written in 1915, in the middle of World War I and only a couple of years before he succumbed to cancer. This late work had sharper edges to its melodies, more astringent with a sound that looked forward to Webern rather than backward to Wagner and Liszt. Had he lived to compose more! How often we think of those composers (think of Schubert) who reached their peak in the very last year(s) of their life only to be cut off. Well, Debussy had a good go at it and we enjoyed some of that genius' legacy at our Saturday evening musicale.

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