On Claude Debussy's 151st Birthday, 3 Recordings From His Era

Tune in to WQXR For Debussy's Music Throughout the Day

Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 12:00 AM

Claude Debussy was born 151 years ago Thursday in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, an anniversary that might be largely overlooked in the classical music field, where focus is usually on big-numbered birthday years.

Google, however, is having none of that. The search engine is featuring an animated doodle commemorating the French composer's 151st birth anniversary. As his piece Claire de Lune plays, viewers see an animation of a nocturnal street scene. The graphic was influenced by Andre Halle, an illustrator from Debussy's time.

By the time Debussy died on March 18, 1918, his works were being recorded; several digitized versions are now archived at the Library of Congress. In honor of the composer's big day, below are three highlights from the collection.

Charles Gilbert Spross performs En bateau (In the Boat) in a recording made June 29, 1911.

Soprano Frances Alda joins an unnamed orchestra to sing Romance on April 4, 1912.

Harpist Ada Sassoli performs the Deux arabesques on Dec. 14, 1912.

Tags:

More in:

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.

Comments [3]

Stephen Omelsky from Cleveland

I wanted to share this Prelude to his Sonata for Cello, performed on the trombone. Accompanied by impressionistic art, it is pleasant and new. Please have a listen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVGbX2a3CY8#action=share

Nov. 28 2013 09:05 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

Thank you for sharing these three treasures completely unknown to me until now. It seems to me the pianist, Spross, and especially the harpist, Sassoli, employed a tasteful rubato in their playing, something I wouldn't have expected in Debussy at all! Madame Alda's rendition sounds flawless to my ears. Parenthetically, her biography "Men Women and Tenors" is a delight and a revelation on every page. Happy Birthday, Maitre Debussy.

Aug. 22 2013 08:42 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

Thank you for sharing these three treasures completely unknown to me until now. It seems to me the pianist, Spross, and especially the harpist, Sassoli, employed a tasteful rubato in their playing, something I wouldn't have expected in Debussy at all! Madame Alda's rendition sounds flawless to my ears. Parenthetically, her biography "Men Women and Tenors" is a delight and a revelation on every page. Happy Birthday, Maitre Debussy.

Aug. 22 2013 08:42 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Follow WQXR 

Sponsored

About WQXR Blog

Engage and interact with the WQXR hosts online.

Feeds