Claude Debussy, La MerJune 23, 2021
Exhibit on display in the foyer of the Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections; curated by David Peter Coppen.
Today one of the most beloved orchestral works in the literature, La Mer was composed by Claude Debussy in 1903–05 and was premiered October 15, 1905, at the Concerts Lamoureux in Paris under conductor Camille Chevillard, to whom Debussy had assigned the right of premiere performance. The US premiere took place on March 2, 1907, performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under conductor Karl Muck. The English premiere took place at Queen’s Hall, London, on February 1, 1908, under the direction of the composer himself. Debussy dedicated La Mer to his publisher, Jacques Durand (Paris), who brought the early editions of the work.
Three autograph manuscripts of La Mer are known to survive. Two are in the possession of the Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris), those being a fair copy of the completed orchestral score (which Debussy submitted to publisher Durand for the first printing) and a piano 4-hands transcription made by Debussy (which was also published by Durand). Since 1929, the only extant draft manuscript of the work, completed by Debussy in early 1905, has been in the possession of the Sibley Music Library.
“Fêtes,” second movement from Nocturnes [for orchestra with women’s chorus; the given movement is solely for orchestra]
Excerpt from Eastman Audio Archive call no. DM 2620
Performed by the New Eastman Symphony under Professor Brad Lubman, conductor, on January 23, 1998 in Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music. The New Eastman Symphony was a student-managed orchestra that flourished at the Eastman School in the years 1997-2000. Professor Lubman has served on the Conducting and Ensembles faculty of the Eastman School since 1996.
Exhibit curated by David Peter Coppen; this exhibit is on display in the foyer of the Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections.