Debussy on Stage

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

[T]he atmosphere of a theatre is made up of contradictions and of unforeseen influences. And one does not submit easily to advice given through incomprehension. DEBUSSY, MAY 1902 For the aspiring young French composer of the nineteenth century, the Prix de Rome represented the capstone of musical study, and winning it signalled the start of a promising career. Claude Debussy, winner of the 1884 competition, later remarked on this popular perception: ‘[A]mong certain people the Prix de Rome has become something of a superstition: to have won it, or not to have won it, answers the question of whether one has any talent or not. Even if it is not infallible, at least it is a useful standard by which the general public can easily judge.' Characteristically, Debussy was ambivalent about the honour, proud to be among its recipients but sceptical of the competence of state-sponsored institutions to recognise, assess or inspire great art. He later recalled the moment he learned that he had won the prize: ‘[M]y heart sank! I had a sudden vision of boredom, and of all the worries that inevitably go together with any form of official recognition. I felt I was no longer free.' First awarded in 1803, the Prix de Rome in musical composition was administered initially by the Institut de France and later by the Académie des Beaux-Arts, a division of the Institut. Although details of the award varied over time, the winner of the Prix received a stipend to subsidise two years of residence at the Villa Medici in Rome, a third year of travel, preferably to Germany or Austria, and a fourth year spent either back in Rome or in France. Each year the laureates were required to submit musical compositions, called envois, as evidence of their progress.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to Debussy
EditorsSimon Trezise
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages61-83
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9780511998768
ISBN (Print)0521654785, 9780521652438
DOIs
StatePublished - 2003

Fingerprint

Prix De Rome
Onstage
Claude Debussy
Rome
Musical Composition
France
Beaux-Arts
French Composer
Superstition
Art
Villa Medici
Atmosphere
Germany
General Public
Residence
Austria
Recipient
Incomprehension
Boredom

Cite this

Grayson, D. A. (2003). Debussy on Stage. In S. Trezise (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Debussy (pp. 61-83). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL9780521652438.006

Debussy on Stage. / Grayson, David A.

The Cambridge Companion to Debussy. ed. / Simon Trezise. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2003. p. 61-83.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Grayson, DA 2003, Debussy on Stage. in S Trezise (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Debussy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 61-83. https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL9780521652438.006
Grayson DA. Debussy on Stage. In Trezise S, editor, The Cambridge Companion to Debussy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2003. p. 61-83 https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL9780521652438.006
Grayson, David A. / Debussy on Stage. The Cambridge Companion to Debussy. editor / Simon Trezise. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2003. pp. 61-83
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