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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.

You’re welcome.

Alexandra Bruce

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Alexandra Bruce

Alexandra Bruce

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7 comments

  • I’m starting to think modern art history is riddled with psyops, making serene beauty and accessibility a problem in art.

  • Beautiful.
    Debussy perfectly decribes Parasympathetic Nervous System functioning – a blessed state that we all need to cultivate. Good music is an easy access point, but meditation via breath-work to stimulate the vagus nerve/ chakras goes deeper into profound altered states. Breath-work before Debussy, now there is a recipe for victorious escape.
    Thanks Alexandra, please enchant us further.
    Robert

  • thanks Alexandra
    This piece was lifted holus-bolus by Richard Rodgers for “The Sound of Music”, without acknowledgement. Maybe Claude got it from some old hymn or folksong, and probably it came originally from palaeolithic birdsong. Sublime
    I find Saint-Saëns as good as Debussy, in similar vein; the only “classical” composers i never tire of.
    François-Joël does a wonderful rendition: the left hand certainly knows what the right hand is doing. And it’s very interesting to read what Claude said about beauty and his art. He certainly has a good handle on it. No pun intended; he leaves Handel in the dust

  • Excellent! What a wonderful way to start my day. I have many of his compositions, but haven’t listened in a while. Thanks so much.

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