stephen eskilson


Monet & Debussy, Searching for a National[ist] Style



³What a blessing it is that there is one art left to us that is not imitative!²

---Lord Henry Wotton


            This essay explores the aesthetic dialogue that connected the later painting of Claude Monet with the musical compositions of Claude Debussy. Recitations of music/painting interpenetration, initially popularized by the French symbolist poets of the late 1880s, functioned as commercial strategies for the artists involved. I examine Monet and Debussy as artists who looked to each other¹s mediums and had connections to the symbolist group, the musical analogy in general, and to Whistler. Finally, I investigate how Debussy used French painting and the discourse surrounding it as an aesthetic defense against the prevalent Wagnerism of many of his contemporaries.

Claude Debussy inverted the prevailing musical-painting analogy and identified his music with the painting of Monet and others.  Debussy utilized this strategy in order to deflect the Wagnerism that saturated both his own work and the work of his French contemporaries.  He desperately wanted to be an artist of the 'New,' and he felt that this novelty was available to him only in the new painting of the era, either impressionist or symbolist, not in the Germanic derivations operating in contemporary French music. Achille-Claude Debussy, born in 1862, received his first piano lessons from Madame Mauté, the mother-in-law of Paul Verlaine.  Later he was trained at the Paris Conservatoire, where he achieved a measure of virtuosity by the age of twelve.  However, Debussy's progress slowed, and he did not win the Prix de Rome until 1884.  Rebelling against the pretensions and requirements of academic music, Debussy remained in Rome for only two years (the minimum requirement), and returned to Paris early in 1887.  In 1888 and 1889 he made what were then the requisite pilgrimages to Bayreuth; however, soon thereafter and for the rest of his career, Debussy tried to deny much of the influence of Richard Wagner, and portrayed himself, especially after the summer of 1914, as an artist of a French nationalist (read "anti-Wagnerist") bent.  This strategy allowed Debussy to congratulate himself in March 1915, ³For many years now I have been saying the same thing:  that we have been unfaithful to the musical traditions of our own race.²[1]  Debussy's music came to the attention of the public in 1893, yet he did not achieve real fame until after the turn of the century.  At that point Debussy's opera Pelléas and Mélisande cemented his musical reputation, his election to the Legion d'Honneur assured his fame, and his published criticism established his aesthetic position for the listening public. 

            Throughout his career, Debussy was occupied with symbolist concerns, completing works based on poems by Verlaine (1895), Baudelaire (1890), and Mallarmé (Prélude à l'aprés-midi d'un faune, 1894).  Debussy, like Whistler and Monet, was a guest at Mallarmé¹s famous Tuesday salons, and had most likely met the poet before his Prix de Rome trip.[2]  Debussy often expressed his anti-literary aesthetic views in the language of J.A.M. Whistler and the French symbolists.  "I wanted from music a freedom which it possesses perhaps to a greater degree than any other art, not being tied to a more or less exact reproduction of Nature but to the mysterious correspondences between Nature and Imagination"[3]  While this statement speaks of his musical ideal, Debussy's thoughts on technique also paralleled the prevailing symbolist ideology.  Debussy focused on technique in a letter to Ernest Chausson dated 2 October 1893.  "I have found, and what is more quite spontaneously, a technique which strikes me as fairly new, that is silence (don't laugh) as a means of expression and perhaps the only way to give the emotion of a phrase its true power."  Here the composer's interest in silence speaks of the technique of Mallarmé--Debussy's use of silence between phrasings was one of his many original contributions to musical form.  In the words of T.E. Clark, "Debussy uses chords like Mallarmé uses words."[4]

            Early in his career Debussy sought to emphasize his medium, and to avoid reliance on a program for his music. When he wrote from Rome to his friend Emile Baron (9 February 1887) on the subject of Printemps, his envoi, Debussy clarified the anti-literary nature of his project.  "I would like to express the slow and painful genesis of objects and living creatures in nature . . . All this, of course, has no Œprogram,¹ as I have a profound contempt for music which has to follow some silly little story . . . So you see how powerfully the music will have to evoke what I have in mind."[5]  Here Debussy is working with the idea of Spring as symbol, and is attempting through his musical form to suggest the essence of the season.  Symbolism can be defined for the composer as an elusive brand of romanticism in which the aesthetic sentiment of the artist is not specific to any one representation or program, but slips among a cluster of connotations.

            Just as Whistler utilized musical titles in an attempt to invoke mystery in his painted works, works which he wanted to remain only partially accessible from a representational point of view, Debussy used the terminology of the visual arts ("images," "estampes," etc.) in an attempt to add mystery to his production, utilizing titles which suggest something, without specifying to the listener exactly what that something is.  For example, Debussy titled one prelude "Voile" (1909), a word which denotes both "sails" (feminine noun) and "veils" (masculine noun) in French.  "Voile" also carries connotations of "disguise" and "mask," and is used by painters to denote "canvas."  This type of title opens up the meaning of the work, allowing for a multiplicity of interpretations.

            That concealment operated effectively in Debussy's music is made clear by the complaints of his many critics over the years, criticism which echoes that concerning Whistler and the later Monet.  Like Ruskin's "pot of paint," many critics attacked the loose structure of Debussy's work.  As early as 1878, Emile Durand, a professor at the conservatoire, labeled his work "sketchy" and "desperately careless."[6]  Much of the early criticism of Debussy centered on the word "impressionist," which was first used perjoratively in 1887 to describe the musical color of Printemps.  This term has since been mistakenly elaborated upon by writers both enamoured of and contemptuous of the composer, as a descriptive term summarizing what many consider his "impressionist" naturalism (in the traditional visual sense of Emile Zola: nature through an artist's temperament). This term implies an illustrative motive which Debussy vigorously rejected.  For example, the phrase of the faun in L'aprés-midi is clearly not an impression-based sound, but like a Wagnerian leitmotiv, functions as a symbol in the work, a suggestion of imagination.[7] It is important to realize that the term "impressionism," in the context of Debussy-criticism, was used more generally as a substitute for "destructive," "hedonistic," etc.--a general attack on his untraditional musical forms.[8]  Debussy himself utilized the term as a strategy for aligning himself with French painting.  When he wrote in April 1901 for La Revue Blanche, ³Let me add that I prefer to keep to Œimpressions,¹ for only these can give me the freedom to keep my feeling immune from parasitic aesthetics,²[9] Debussy was invoking the person of Monet, the French artist of the 'New' who the composer most wanted to emulate.  For Debussy, "newness" was most operative in French painting, and was scarcely available in music.  "I dared to point out to him (M. Croche) that in poetry and painting alike (and I managed to think of a couple of musicians as well) men had tried to shake away the dust of tradition, but that it had only earned them the labels of 'symbolists' or 'impressionists'--useful terms of abuse."[10]

            Critics often used painting-derived terms in their portrayals of Debussy, especially following the first performance of the Nocturnes in February 1900.  For example, Jean d'Udine, writing in Le Courrier Musical, described the work in terms of its "plastic beauty," and "what the painters would call its 'harmony.'"[11]  Similiarly, Saint-Saëns wrote that L'aprés-midi "contains not the slightest musical idea in the real sense of the word.  It's as much a piece of music as the palette a painter has worked from is a painting."[12]  Likewise, when Pélleas was first performed in April, 1902, the opera was accused of formlessness, criticism which was based mainly on its lack of arias, monotony (it had no dances), and its unintelligible harmonic progressions.[13]  Vincent d'Indy wrote specifically, "This music will not live because it is without form."[14]  The series paintings of Monet in the 1890s received many of the same types of comments, suggesting that these two artists were working within a similar aesthetic framework, and abraded contemporary writers on the arts in very similiar ways.  The interchangeability of Monet/Debussy criticism and the more general interpenetration of musical and visual terminology in critical vocabularies is also accounted for by the fact that many contemporary critics wrote on both of these arts, and were therefore prone to recognize parallel projects in different media. 

            One of the most direct statements by Debussy in regard to his music and its relationship to painting is recorded in a letter dated 22 September 1894 and addressed to the violinist Eugène Ysaÿe, for whom the Nocturnes were written.  Here Debussy wrote:  "I'm working on three nocturnes for solo violin and orchestra . . . It's an experiment, in fact, in finding the different combinations possible inside a single colour, as a painter might make a study in grey, for example."[15]  While visual comparisons like this one resound throughout Debussy's writing, never does he refer to the representational content of a painting. In another letter, this one to his student Raoul Bardac dated 24 February 1906, Debussy elaborated on an analogy between music and painting, and alluded to the series projects of Monet, specifically the Nympheas, which had been exhibited in 1900. "Collect impressions. Don't be in a hurry to write them down. Because that's something music can do better than painting: it can centralize variations of colour and light within a single picture."[16]  It can be argued that Monet in his series is trying to respond to and emulate music's temporal potentialities, as outlined here by Debussy.

            Debussy¹s symbolist friends lauded him and Monet with their highest commendation--both were described by Théodore de Wyzewa, of La Revue Wagnerienne, as Wagnerian artists.[17]  Nonetheless, the reception of both their works as being somehow decidedly French (decidedly Wagnerian?) is the link that Debussy wished to perpetuate.  That Debussy was successful in this maneuver is clear from the fact that French critics facilely compared his work with that of the painter.  For example, in 1902, the former Secretary of the Conservatoire, Emile Réty, said of Pelléas, which has been portrayed by scholars as a work with a Wagnerian flavor, "C'est du Claude Monet."[18]  It was recorded that this comment greatly pleased the composer.  While surely this remark speaks mainly to the reputation of Monet and Debussy¹s ambitious co-option thereof, it also responds specifically to the aesthetic interests of the two men.

            An appeal to the 'New' painting, and a painting-based aesthetic, was Debussy's insistent polemics in favor of "plein-air music."  He wrote in 1901, "I envisage the possibility of a music especially written for the open air, flowing in bold broad lines from both the orchestra and the voices. . . . (Music) could be regenerated, taking a lesson in freedom from the blossoming of the trees."[19]  Here he is calling upon the regenerative forces of nature while explicitly describing a Monet-esque aesthetic.  Debussy stated:  "Music . . . is responsible for the movements of water, the pattern of curves traced by the wavering breeze; nothing is more musical than a sunset."[20]  In another sense that sunset was Wagner, while Debussy played the part of the new day.

            Significantly, Monet in his poplar series and Debussy in Pelléas utilized the arabesque line which Baudelaire called ³the most spiritual of all.²  The two artists shared an interest in this line based on its relative symbolism, i.e. it is suggestive of form, but can also conceal it.  The beauty of the arabesque's curved form decomposes the subject which it describes.  The word "arabesque" has a long history as both a musical and visual term.  In the late nineteenth century, the interpenetration of these two "arabesque" discourses is evident.  For example, Paul Gauguin and Maurice Denis savored the arabesque line for its expressive, musical quality, while Debussy described L'Aprés-midi as an "arabesque" in a letter to Mallarmé.[21]  In his letter, Debussy was perhaps referring to the melodic phrase of the solo flute which opens the piece, elegantly drawing a musical arabesque.[22]  Along these lines, when Debussy described music as ³arabesque² (he titled a work Two Arabesques in 1888) he chose a term which had strong visual connotations, especially in the late nineteenth century.

            I contend that Debussy's use of visual analogies and his symbolist borrowings represent an attempt by him to align himself with the 'New' and the 'French' in order to portray himself as free from the Germanic grip of Wagnerism.  Debussy's embrace of the symbolists, staunch Wagnerists, is not troubling because Debussy respected the German composer, and detested only the lame musical gestures favored by Wagner's French followers.  In terms of musical painting, Monet was the epitome of the 'New' and 'French' artist, one who had already worked with the music/painting dialectic in his own medium, and whose invocation had the power to reinforce Debussy's aesthetic reputation.  Significantly, the ideals of French nationalism to which Debussy subscribed were considered by one of his important colleagues, Erik Satie, to form part of an aesthetic strategy, 'New' and 'French' in a manner which was Monet-esque.  Satie, who met Debussy in 1891, recalled their discussions several years later, in a statement worth quoting at length.


I explained to Debussy at that time the need a Frenchman has to free himself from the Wagnerian venture, which didn't respond to our natural aspirations.  I also pointed out that I was in no way anti-Wagnerian but that we should have a music of our own--if possible without any sauerkraut.  Why could we not use the means that Claude Monet, Cézanne, Toulouse-Lautrec and others had made known?  Why could we not transpose these means into music?"[23]


Surely Debussy's attempts to align his music with contemporary French painting and poetry speaks of the unavailability of music as a French art, tainted as it was by the Germanics of Wagner.[24]  Conversely, later nineteenth-century painting was a French triumph.[25]

            It is clear from Debussy's works and writings that he welcomed Satie's aesthetic strategy.  Ironically, French writers like Leon Vallas have confused the issue, over-emphasizing Debussy¹s wartime feelings and neglecting the strong ties which his music has to Wagner in order to expound upon the extreme nationalist nature of his achievements.  For example, Vallas, in his Les Idées de Claude Debussy, Musicien Français, implies that Debussy was fanatically nationalistic.[26]  Vallas argues that Debussy identified himself with French nationalism because of personal patriotism, refusing to recognize the efficacy of such an aesthetic stance as an artistic strategy.  Debussy's own statements make it clear that he was not a blind patriot, rejecting Wagnerism out of xenophobia.  For example, in 1897 he wrote to Pierre Louÿs, "I got no further than you with Messidor . . . Have you noticed the deplorable use of patriotism? . . . It's no more than an opportunity to say, 'It may be bad but at least it's French!'"[27]  Almost every scholar who writes on Debussy's affinity for French music and painting takes his later (post-World War I) rhetoric at face value, integrating the composer's aesthetic concerns within the continuum of Franco-German conflict.  The composer¹s own writings taken as a whole, however, make it clear that he (sometimes) recognized his debt to Wagner and admired his music, especially Parsifal.[28]  What Debussy resented was the overwhelming reputation which Wagner enjoyed in France, and he attacked this Wagnerism in order to portray himself as a savior of sorts, the 'New' 'French' artist.  For example, in his first article published in La Revue Blanche (1901), Debussy condemned a Wagner-inspired overture by a Frenchman. ³The overture to King Lear by Albert Savard has a ring that is rather too Wagnerian for my taste.  Eternal cymbal clashing snuffing out the flutes--a typically Wagnerian impertinence!²[29]  However, further on in the same article Debussy makes favorable remarks about a recent performance of excerpts from the Ring.[30]  Debussy rejects French Wagnerism, not Wagner--while he often chides Frenchmen for their adoration of the German, and satirizes some of the composer¹s musical and personal excesses, Debussy only completely faults the lame derivations of Wagner¹s music, not the composer himself. As a promoter of his own work, he presents this objection to Wagnerist mannerism in Gallic terms.  ³(A Wagnerian) formula could never be in tune with the French spirit.  Wagner was not a good teacher of the French.²[31]  Similiarly, in Gil Blas in 1903, Debussy stated that ³A stable of worn-out cart horses, Wagner-crazy, followed willingly after his egotistical need for glory.²[32]  In this same vein, the journal L¹Idee Libre in 1893 once published an advance notice of an article by Debussy, to be titled ³On the Uselessness of Wagnerism."[33] 

            On July 1, 1901 Debussy's "M. Croche, Antidilletante" made his first appearance in La Revue Blanche.  M. Croce appeared infrequently thereafter, functioning as a kind of alter ego for Debussy, often expressing the composer¹s harshest opinions.[34]  "How that sinister smile would stretch across his face!  Particularly when he was speaking about music.  Suddenly I decided to ask him his profession.  He replied in a voice that forestalled any comment, 'antidilletante.'"[35]  M. Croce was frustrated with the ignorance of the concert-goer to musical form.  "Haven't you noticed the hostility of concert hall audiences?  Haven't you seen those faces, gray with boredom, . . . with stupidity?  They are never the slightest bit involved in the pure drama that is the very essence of the symphonic conflict.  Never do they even consider the pieces as edifices in sound."[36]  This "wizened" ironic character also spoke to Debussy's interest in the interpenetration of music and painting.  "At once he aroused my (Debussy's) curiosity with his peculiar ideas about music.  He would talk about an orchestral score as if it were a painting . . . I recall the parallel he drew between Beethoven's orchestra, which he spoke of in terms of black and white (and therefore giving a marvelous scale of grays) and Wagner's, which he said was like a kind of multicolored putty."[37]  M. Croche was in many ways a Whistlerian character, disdaining the aesthetically uninitiated.

            Debussy¹s strategic identification with French painting and apart from Wagner was clearly successful in terms of the treatment he received in foreign periodicals.  For example, the Hungarian journal Azest published an interview with Debussy upon his trip to that country in 1910 which lauded his 'New' 'French' qualities, presenting the composer as a musical messiah.   ³For two days the most illustrious representative of French music--the poet, apostle, and prophet--has been here in Budapest. . . . Debussy has enriched music with new impressions, sentiments, and effects. . . . It shows the whole tendency of French music in a state of renewal, advancing toward an eclipse of the triumphant Wagnerism that resounds within it.²[38]  This aggrandizement is clearly a paraphrase of Debussy¹s own views.  The article continues by placing Debussy within the continuum of the 'New' 'French' painting and poetry.  ³France herself took a long time to admit that it was Debussy who strove to create musical impressionism, as Manet, Monet, Rodin, Verlaine, Baudelaire, and Mallarmé had endeavored to create it in the pictorial, sculptural, or poetic field. . . . Debussy is today the magnus pontifex of a new musical credo.²[39] 

            This line of rhetoric is reiterated in an obituary, ³Estimating Debussy,² which the Englishman John Burk wrote for The New Music Review in 1919.  In that article Burk compared Debussy to his artistic compatriots.  ³(Debussy) remained a pre-revolutionary aristocrat. . . . The painters and poets of Paris have long walked that fastidious path; it required Debussy to introduce the fashion to music. . . . France has repented her orgy, her Wagnerian saturation.²[40]  Here Burk began the historicization of Debussy¹s identification with the painters:  ³Debussy was all of a symbolist and impressionist.  There have long been painters who Œspecialized¹ in light.  Debussy was the first musician to specialize in color.²[41]  These last two articles summarize the part which Debussy wished to play, legitimizing the composer¹s own statements.  When Burk describes Debussy as ³the neat antithesis of Wagner,² he is using a convenient label that the composer had arrogated.  This staged dichotomy reflects well upon Debussy, but speaks poorly of the critical faculties of the voices who expounded a term that the musical evidence does not support.  This strategy has played into the hard facts of history and the animosity that German belligerence has engendered throughout the West.  This animosity was embraced by Burk, an Englishman writing in 1919, at a time when the wounds of the Great War were still fresh.  In this manner, the timing of Debussy's death (1918) has served him well historically.  It would also appear from the way the composer¹s own views resurface in the writing of others, that Debussy¹s voluminous critical work held the key to the molding of his reputation.

            Stefan Jarocinski has concluded of Debussy, ³(His) feeling for pure musical material, free from the dualism of ideas and matter, form and content, led him to the eternal sources of music . . . (where music is) freed from the influence of preconceived ideas.²[42]  This sentimental dictum could just as well serve to eulogize Monet¹s series paintings, which sought the same acclaim. Ultimately, the series' expression resides in their dialogue with Debussy¹s music.  Painting had successfully co-opted the guise of musical form--Debussy completed the exchange by invoking painting in order to portray himself as the 'New' 'French' artist, post-Wagner, not derivative of him.

[1]Claude Debussy, Debussy on Music (New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1977), p. 322.  Société Internationale de Musique, 1915.  In his notes to Debussy on Music, editor Richard Smith explicates Debussy's literary affiliations.  The critical writings of Debussy appeared mainly in three different journals.  From April to December of 1901 he wrote monthly installments for La Revue Blanche, a progressive periodical edited by Félix Fénéon.  The anarchist leanings of La Revue Blanche, especially in its rejection of "bourgeois Wagnerism" in favor of a cult of individual genius, was in line with the views of Debussy.  Debussy's second major foray into criticism spanned January-June of 1903, when he wrote a weekly contribution for the daily Gil Blas.  In both Gil Blas and La Revue Blanche Debussy wrote mainly as a reviewer, working his aesthetic views into his reports on concerts.  At Gil Blas Debussy was presented as the expert, while his columns were paired with those by Colette, who took the guise of a somewhat naive dilletante.  Finally, Debussy wrote a monthly general column for the specialist-oriented bulletin of the Société Internationale de Musique from late 1912 until March 1915.  There his columns were paired with those of Vincent d'Indy.

[2]Debussy set Mallarmé¹s Apparition to music in 1884, and his Trois Poèmes in 1913. (see note 53 below, Austin, p. 4)  In 1890 he completed a work based on Baudelaire¹s Fleurs du Mal.  For an exhaustive discussion of Debussy's compositions based on symbolist poetry, see Arthur Wenk, Claude Debussy and the Poets (Berkeley:  University of California Press, 1976).

[3]Debussy, p. 74.  From "Why I Wrote Pelléas," published explanation, April, 1902.

[4]Quoted in Stefan Jarocinski, Debussy Impressionism and Symbolism (London:  Ernst Eulenburg Ltd., 1976), p. 59.

[5]Claude Debussy, Debussy Letters (Cambridge, Mass:  Harvard University Press, 1987), p. 21.

[6]Stanley Sadie, ed., New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1980), vol. 5, p. 307.


[8]Jarocinski, p. 9.

[9]Debussy, Debussy on Music, p. 14.  La Revue Blanche, 1901.

[10]Ibid., p. 48.  La Revue Blanche, 1901.

[11]Quoted in Jarocinski, p. 15.

[12]Quoted in Sadie, ed., p. 298.

[13]Nectoux, Jean Michel, et al., Twentieth-century French Masters from The Composer biography series (New York and London:  W.W. Norton & Company, 1980), p. 53-55.

[14]Jarocinski, p. 16.

[15]Debussy, Debussy Letters, p. 75.

[16]Ibid., p. 166.

[17]Jarocinski, p. 72.  See for example Jules Laforgue, who wrote in 1883:  "Monet . . . oú tout est obtenu par mille touches menues dansantes en tout sens comme des pailles de couleurs -- en concurrence vitale pour l'impression d'ensemble.  Plus de mélodie isolée, le tout est une symphonie qui est la vie vivante et variante, comme 'les voix de la forêt' des théories de Wagner." (Laforgue, Mélanges Posthumes, Paris, 1903)

[18]Quoted in Edward Lockspeiser, Debussy (New York:  E.P. Dutton and Company, 1936), p. 211.  In Raymond Bonheur's memoir (1926), he quotes Debussy:  "How I envy the painters who can keep the freshness of the sketch as they dream it."  See note 53 below, Austin, p. 138.

[19]Debussy, Debussy on Music, p. 41.  La Revue Blanche, 1901.  Aside from Plein-aire music, Debussy also compared music to the circus, which in the late nineteenth century held a special fascination for painters such as Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec.  (Smith, ed., note to Debussy, Debussy on Music, p. 30).

[20]Quoted in Jarocinski, p. 95. 

[21]Quoted in William W. Austin, ed., Debussy Prelude to "The Afternoon of a Faun," Norton Critical Scores (New York and London:  W. W. Norton & Company, 1970), p. 12.

[22]I am indebted to Professor James Baker of Brown University for this example.

[23]Quoted in Lockspeiser, Debussy, p. 46.

[24]The Mallarmé-informed critic Camille Mauclair also struck a nationalist note in his book entitled Les Impressionistes (1903), which attempts to place that grouping of artists, especially Monet, within the continuum of the French idea, as embodied in Claude, Chardin, etc.  Although he emphasizes what he defines as the "optical science" of Monet, Mauclair makes specific, if facile, remarks on the symphonic nature of Monet¹s series paintings, noting that they elaborate upon a theme in a distinctly musical/temporal manner.  Mauclair also serves this paper as another example, in line with Stevenson, of the musical model at work in the visual critical discourse generally, gradually displacing the literary rhetoric of the previous four-hundred years.

[25]Notably, Debussy often invoked the "Mona Lisa's smile" in his professional writings as a metaphor of eternal art, that which contains "an everlasting expression of beauty."  See Debussy, Debussy on Music, p. 85.  Musica, 1902.

[26]Leon Vallas, Les Idées de Claude Debussy, Musicien Français (Paris:  Éditions Musicale de la Librairie de France, 1927). 

[27]Debussy, Debussy Letters, p. 90.

[28]Debussy, Debussy on Music, p. 307.  Société Internationale de Musique, 1914.  In February, 1914, Debussy ranked Parsifal as a masterpiece, akin to the "Mona Lisa's smile."  The scope of this paper does not include a calculation of the exact musical debt Debussy owes to Wagner, but this subject is examined in detail in Robin Holloway's Debussy and Wagner (London:  Ernst Eulenburg, 1979).

[29]Ibid., p. 14.  La Revue Blanche, 1901. 

[30]Ibid., p. 14-15.  La Revue Blanche, 1901.  Another example of Debussy's acceptance of Wagner was his performance of sections of the Ring to illustrate a lecture on that piece by the Wagnerist poet Catulle Mendes in 1893.  See Austin, note 53 above.

[31]Ibid., p. 297.  Société Internationale de Musique, 1913.

[32]Ibid., p. 97.  Gil Blas, 1903.

[33]Smith, ed., note to Debussy, Debussy on Music, p. xx.  The article was promoted for five consecutive months, but was never published.

[34]The character of M. Croce is most probably based on Paul Valéry's M. Teste, a persona which was introduced by the poet in 1896.  For a comparison of the two, see Edward Lockspeiser, Debussy, His Life and Mind, vol. 2 (London, 1965).

[35]Debussy, Debussy on Music, p. 45.  La Revue Blanche, 1901.


[37]Ibid.  Debussy refers here to a "scale of grays," perhaps another reference to Whistler.

[38]Reprinted in Debussy, Debussy on Music, p. 240.  Notably, this Azest article recognizes the Wagnerism which "resounds within" Debussy's music, a recognition which would be buried with the onset of war.


[40]John Burk, "Estimating Debussy," The New Music Review, Vol. 18, No. 208, 1919, p. 76-79.


[42]Jarocinski, p. 164.