Music: Debussy Rediscovered

The musical genius of France is something like a dream in the senses.

—Claude Debussy

When it comes to Debussy's own compositions, most interpreters stress the dream more than the senses. They see Debussy's rejection of the robust rhetoric of 19th century Romantic music as part of a drift into a fantasy world. They render his refined, precisely shaded instrumental effects as the perpetual murmuring of a soul in reverie. At best, this approach makes Debussy into an intriguing original of French music. At worst, it produces a kind of clair de lunacy: conductors seem to be using a stick of incense rather...

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