Our latest podcast episode features popular TED speaker Mara Mintzer. There is a sense of chasing and attempting to grasp the ephemeral. Gently swelling phrases for strings, harp, and horns are soon added. The composition was inspired by the poem L’après-midi d’un faune by Stéphane Mallarmé. Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is a musical evocation of Stéphane Mallarmé ’s poem “Afternoon of a Faun,” in which a faun—a half-man, half-goat creature of ancient Greek legend—awakes to revel in sensuous memories of forest nymphs.

Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Photograph: Illustration by Léon Bakst for the ballet, Afternoon of a Faun, after Debussy’s music. The Afternoon of a Faun ***** by Stephane Mallarme. The flute’s gentle siren call emerges, solitary and alluring. Debussy’s work later provided the basis for the ballet Afternoon of a Faun, choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa. Leonard Bernstein and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andrés Orozco-Estrada and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez and the Cleveland Orchestra, Sergiu Celibidache and the Munich Philharmonic, Stravinsky’s Octet for Wind Instruments: Enter Neoclassicism, Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony: The Unlikely Triumph of Freedom, The Brahms Violin Concerto: 8 Great Recordings, 1941 Recording: Korngold’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” Toscha Seidel, Ives’ “The Housatonic at Stockbridge”: The Eternal River of Time, Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony: The Unlikely Triumph of Freedom. A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001.

"The Afternoon of a Faun" is a poem filled with lust, desire, nature, dream-states, the folly of love and lust, and the pain of their departure. In Debussy’s opening bars, we experience the deep, mysterious silences of the Tristan Prelude, along with its fluid chromaticism. The program of Debussy's Prelude to "The Afternoon of a Faun" evokes: a landscape with a mythological creature. It was first performed in Paris on December 22, 1894, conducted by Gustave Doret. A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. The dissonant interval of the augmented fourth (or tritone) is a persistent presence from the opening flute statement. Rather there is a succession of scenes through which pass the desires and dreams of the faun in the heat of the afternoon.

L'après-midi d'un faune (or "The Afternoon of a Faun") is a poem by the French author Stéphane Mallarmé. It wanders freely from C-sharp down to G-natural and back again, drifting hazily into our consciousness, and beckoning us forward with quiet, seductive power. Although it is tempting to call this piece a tone poem, there is very little musical literalism in the piece; instead, the slow and mediated melody and layered orchestration as a whole evoke the eroticism of Mallarmé’s poem. The marvel! Omissions? Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is a musical evocation of Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem “Afternoon of a Faun,” in which a faun—a half-man, half-goat creature of ancient Greek legend—awakes to revel in sensuous memories of forest nymphs.

Then, tired of pursuing the timorous flight of nymphs and naiads, he succumbs to intoxicating sleep, in which he can finally realize his dreams of possession in universal Nature. The middle section features clarinet and oboe solos before the flute gradually retakes the spotlight. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The main musical themes are introduced by woodwinds, with delicate but harmonically advanced underpinnings of muted horns, strings and harp. Claude Debussy, painting by Marcel Baschet, 1884; in the Versailles Museum. The development of the slow main theme transitions smoothly between 9/8, 6/8, and 12/8 meters. Afternoon of a Faun retains the signposts of traditional tonal music. By no means does it claim to be a synthesis of it. Recurring tools in Debussy’s compositional arsenal make appearances in this piece: extended whole-tone scale runs, harmonic fluidity without lengthymodulations between central keys, and tritones in both melody and harmony. It was first performed in Paris on December 22, 1894, conducted by Gustave Doret. This is how we enter the sensuous dreamscape of Claude Debussy’s colorful and fleeting 1894 tone poem, Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun). The Prélude at first listening seems improvisational and almost free-form; however, closer observation will demonstrate that the piece consists of a complex organization of musical cells, motifs carefully developed and traded between members of the orchestra. Was it a dream I loved? The music proceeds without abrupt shifts; themes blend into each other, slowly rising and falling. So clear Their light carnation, that it floats in the air Heavy with tufted slumbers. For the twentieth century composer Pierre Boulez, this was the piece that represented the awakening of modern music: The flute of the Faun brought new breath to the art of music; what was overthrown was not so much the art of development, as the very concept of form itself… the reservoir of youth in that score defies depletion and exhaustion.

Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The scene occupies a blurry world somewhere between dreaming and waking.

Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun”: Desires and Dreams June 12, 2020 by Timothy Judd The flute’s gentle siren call emerges, solitary and alluring. Pleasure is the law.”.

It continued the traditions of classical ballet. The work is considered a quintessential example of musical Impressionism, a compositional style popular at the turn of the 20th century that was influenced by the artistic school of the same name. [This prelude] was [Debussy’s] musical response to the poem of Stephane Mallarmé (1842–1898), in which a faun playing his pan-pipes alone in the woods becomes aroused by passing nymphs and naiads, pursues them unsuccessfully, then wearily abandons himself to a sleep filled with visions. Though the piece was composed in the late 19th century, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is seen by no less a figure of modernism as Pierre Boulez as the beginning of modern music. Wagner’s Tristan is always in search of its final moment of transfiguration. You merely have to listen. Rather there is a succession of scenes through which pass the desires and dreams of the faun in the heat of the afternoon. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. After teasing us with endless modulations and harmonic ambiguity, it fades away in a definitive home key of E major—a key subtly suggested in the opening bars, but then evaded. Yet in between these points, everything solid melts away. The Queen of the Night: Opera's Most Deranged Mother? In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program. All Rights Reserved. Test your knowledge of pitch, treble clefs, and more in this music quiz.

Paintings by Rebecca A. Barrington ***** These nymphs I would perpetuate. I press your hand admiringly, Debussy. The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. Its climax throbs with rapturous passion, and then evaporates into the haze of a summer afternoon. In Afternoon of a Faun, we find ourselves floating through the strange landscape on the other side of Tristan und Isolde’s final, death-inducing resolution. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. In addition to performing and teaching, Timothy Judd is the author of the popular classical music appreciation blog, The Listeners’ Club…. Even the accompanimentexplores alternate voicings; the flute duo’s crescendo during their melodic cells accompany legato strings with violas carrying the soprano part over alto violins (the tone of a viola in its upper register being especially pronounced). It unfolds in the moment, offering an unending stream of shimmering, pastel colors.

Though called a “prelude,” the work is nevertheless complete – an evocation of the feelings of the poem as a whole. A close analysis of the piece reveals a high amount of consciousness of composition on Debussy’s part.