DEBUSSY: His Life and Mind by Edward Lockspeiser

DEBUSSY: His Life and Mind

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Edward Lockspeiser's fittingly elegant, almost exquisite examination of Claude Debussy is a work of major importance for the musical world. One hopes that the second and final volume measures up to the impact and illumination of this, the first. Debussy's brooding childhood, his ne'er-do-well papa, his ruthless mamma, the tutoring of the children of Madame von Meck, that eccentric Russian millionairess and Tchaikovsky soulmate, his Conservatoire years and Prix de Rome adventures, the ambivalent amours with Caby and Lily, the strange friendship with Pierre Louys, suggestive of a ""relationship similar to that of Verlaine and Rimbaud"", the various, often ""disintegrating"" influences and inspirations by way of Mallarme, Wagner, Poe, Baudelaire, Swinburne, the rediscovery of Renaissance composers and the introduction to the Orient and Art Nouveau through the 1889 Paris Exhibition, his development of tonal ambiguity and the now famed harmonic irresolution- all these matters and much else make up a highly disciplined, thoroughly provocative, always painstaking study. It is caviar for the connoisseur, just as the Pierre La Mure novel (which will appear later in the month) is a fruit salad a la mode.

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 1962
Publisher: Macmillan