Debussy and Bartók, heard by BILL NEWMAN
The connection between Claude Debussy's early Prélude à l'après midi d'un faune (1892-4) and the music of Béla Bartók came from the latter's contemporary, Zoltán Kodály. Bartók was immediately capitivated by the Frenchman's evocative music, closely linked with Mallarmé's poem, when he first heard it in 1907. It describes the awakening of the nymph from his sultry afternoon sleep, recalling his meeting with others of his own kind, and his unsettled feelings in general. The dancer, Nijinsky, when he performed it on stage, turned it into an orgy, simulating masterbation behind his own scarf!..
Copyright © 24 November 2011