I love Claude Debussy, who practically invented modern music at the turn of the last century and had a tremendous influence on many composers who followed, in Jazz, Bossa Nova and in Hollywood musicals.
This virtuoso performance of the 1890 “Rêverie” by French-American pianist François-Joël Thiollier evokes everything Debussy was trying to do.
And he was very clear about what he was doing. He said, “Music should humbly seek to please; within these limits great beauty may perhaps be found. Extreme complication is contrary to art. Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part.”
He also said, “There’s no need either for music to make people think! … It would be enough if music could make people listen, despite themselves and despite their petty mundane troubles … It would be enough if they could no longer recognize their own grey, dull faces; if they felt that for a moment they had been dreaming of an imaginary country.”
If you need a respite from today’s political ugliness, I invite you to close your eyes and listen to “Rêverie” for 4 minutes.