CLAIR DE LUNE by Pierre La Mure


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La Mure's gallery of famous artists and troubled romantics (Toulouse-Lautree, Mendelssohn) now includes Claude Debussy. And what a love life he had. In a fin de siecle canvas as colorful as a circus, dark-eyed Claude, impulsive and melancholy, hot-blooded and visionary, has a succession of charmers: for a start, there's 16 year old Sonia of Russia: later in his early twenties it's Alix, a Parisian matron: then delightful, demanding Gaby, a demi mondaine, the true bedmate of his bohemian years. However, unwisely, he marries Lily, a neurotic midinette; at forty, in a ""drizzle of gold coins and a thunder of applause"", Pelleas brings fame; and finally mature love. He weds Emma, a banker's wife. The characterizations and descriptions are about equal: for Claude, ""music will always come first"", nevertheless ""with a soft thud they fell on the coverlet in a cross of surrender"". A few witticisms (""Women love art as pigeons love statues, for a purpose"") and a few scholarly footnotes combine with the frou frou. Serious readers will do well to refer to Edward Lockspeiser's Debussy (page 866).

Pub Date: Nov. 19th, 1962
Publisher: Random House