Claude Debussy
Title Details

20th June 2019

544 Pages

22.86 x 15.24 cm

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

Claude Debussy

A Critical Biography

by François Lesure

Translated by Marie Rolf

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
English translation and revised edition of the most comprehensive and reliable biography of Claude Debussy.
François Lesure's "critical biography" of Claude Debussy (Fayard, 2003) is widely recognized by scholars as the most comprehensive and reliable account of that composer's life and career as well as of the artistic milieu in whichhe worked. This encyclopedic volume draws extensively on Debussy's complete correspondence (at that time unpublished), a painstaking tracking of contemporary reviews and comments in the press, and an examination of other primary documents-including private diaries-that had not been available to previous biographers. As such, Lesure's book presents a wealth of new information while debunking a number of myths that had developed over the years since the composer's death in 1918.

The present English translation and revised edition, by Debussy authority Marie Rolf, augments Lesure's numerous notes with several thousand new ones by Rolf, providing more precise information oncrucial and sometimes contentious points. It also reflects Debussy scholarship that has appeared since 2003, updating Lesure's seminal work. Rolf's translation-the first ever-will make Lesure's findings accessible to scholars, musicians, and music lovers in English-speaking lands and around the world.

FRANÇOIS LESURE (1923-2001) was the Director of the Music division of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Professor of Musicology at the Université libre de Bruxelles, and Chair of Musicology at the École pratique des Hautes Études.

MARIE ROLF is senior associate dean of graduate studies and professor of music theory at the Eastman School of Music and a memberof the editorial board for the Ouvres complètes de Claude Debussy.
Preface
An Unsettled Childhood: 1862-72
Failure of a Pianist: 1872-79
Birth of a Composer: 1880-82
The Path to the Prix de Rome: 1882-84
The Villa Medici: 1885-87
Beginning of the Bohemian Period: 1887-89
From Baudelaire to Mallarmé: 1890-91
Esotericism and Symbolism: 1892
The Chausson Year: 1893
A "Fairy Tale" Gone Awry: 1894
Pierre Louÿs: The Lean Years: 1895-96
Pelléas: The Long Wait: 1895-98
From Bachelorhood to Marriage: 1897-99
Nocturnes: 1900-1901
The Composer as Critic: 1901-3
Pelléas et Mélisande: 1902
From the Fêtes galantes to La Mer: 1903
Debussyism; A New Life: 1904
La Mer: 1905
Projects and Skirmishes: 1906-7
Orchestra Conductor: 1908
"The Procrastination Syndrome": 1909
Images and Préludes: 1910
Le martyre de saint Sébastien: 1911
The Year of the Ballets: 1912
Jeux; Travel to Russia: 1913
The Final Trips: 1914
The War; Pourville: 1914-15
The Factories of Nothingness: 1916-18
"Magnificent. A milestone in Debussy scholarship. Its translator, Marie Rolf,...has also added substantial additional notes. Writing with exemplary conciseness and cool detachment, Lesure gives us a complex portrait of 'an artist who sacrificed nearly everything for his work', and, while presenting us with a marvellously detailed depiction of the artistic and social milieu in which he moved, he places his primary emphasis on the contradictions within the man, which in turn fuelled his creativity." GRAMOPHONE
"Easy and rewarding to read--a landmark in historic Debussy studies and an essential source in this new enlarged edition and translation." MUSICAL OPINION
"Meticulously researched...Marie Rolf has not only translated this magnum opus but also augmented Lesure's book with information unearthed by more recent scholarship." BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE
"An invaluable scholarly resource." LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS
"A much-esteemed volume...Marie Rolf of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, a Debussy specialist in her own right, was an ideal candidate for the task of translating." INTERNATIONAL PIANO
"'This book is an outstanding event in Debussy scholarship and literature. François Lesure was at the center of international Debussy scholarship over several decades, devoting much of his career at the Bibliothèque nationale de France to collecting the material that lies at the core of this richly detailed biography. Marie Rolf has similarly dedicated the major part of a distinguished career to Debussy, having worked closley with François Lesure from the early 1980s on the Ouvres complètes de Claude Debussy. She is perfectly placed to have realized the present edited and updated English translation, making a wealth of vital information available in English for the first time.' --"
"'In Marie Rolf's new English edition of François Lesure's classic biography, Claude Debussy, Anglophones will discover Debussy's perosnality, his large network of friends and collaborators, and his impassioned relationships with women, all animating a rich chronology of his compositional life. A beautifully written, fluid translation incorporating new sources and over two thousand new footnotes, it is a welcome contribution to the burgeoning interest in the composer.' --"

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Title Details

20th June 2019

544 Pages

2.286 x 1.524 cm

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Imprint: University of Rochester Press