DEBUSSY (Claude).

Lot 30
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12000 - 15000 EUR
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Result : 23 400EUR
DEBUSSY (Claude).
Correspondence with André Messager. 1902-1910. Set of 21 autograph letters signed, in all 60 pages in-8 or in-12, with 13 stamped autograph envelopes. Bound in an in-8 volume (220 x 150 mm), Lavallière jansenist morocco, spine ribbed, gilt inner lace (Alix).
"One of the most beautiful correspondences of Debussy" (Denis Herlin).
These letters translate the deep esteem and friendship between the two men. Both conductor and composer, André Messager (1853-1929) had the honor, in 1902, to create Pelléas et Mélisande that Debussy dedicated to him as a sign of gratitude. It is only a few days after the creation of Pelléas at the Opéra-Comique on April 30, 1902, that this correspondence begins. It was interrupted in 1904, at the time of Debussy's divorce, when Messager took up the cause of Lilly Tixier. After a long silence, two letters of 1910 testify to a brief resumption without a future.
An assiduous letter writer, Debussy confided, in great detail, his work, his projects, his difficulties and his hopes, reserving a large place for Pelléas, and never ceased to praise Messager's talent. If discouragement sometimes overcomes him, he resorts to irony. May 9, 1902: [...] you knew how to awaken the sound life of Pelléas with such a tender delicacy that one should no longer try to find it, because it is quite certain that the inner rhythm of all music depends on the one who evokes it, as such a word depends on the mouth that pronounces it... Thus such an impression of Pelléas was doubled by what your personal emotion had sensed, and gave it by that very fact, a marvelous "setting". It is surely something that cannot be found, you know it as well as I do [...]
Wednesday [May 14, 1902] : [...] yesterday Pelléas was replaced by Le Roi d'Ys, Monsieur J. Périer [who sang Pelléas] having declared himself aphonic... (Willy would not fail to say in this connection "L'après-midi d'aphone" [...] Moreover, I have the impression since you are no longer here, that there is something rotten in the kingdom of Allemonde! - It is so true that nobody in the Opéra Comique has for Pelléas the worried tenderness that you had for him [...] May 21, 1902 : [...] Yesterday was the 7th performance of Pelléas [...] We refused the audience (Explain that as you can). To compensate, the performance was weak. Martenot himself added unexpected glissandos, which may seem excessive! Perier has caught a cold once and for all, only Mademoiselle Garden and Dufranne are unchanged [...]
Saturday [7 June 1902] : [...] I have a frantic desire to leave Paris with all the so-called artists it contains - Ah! the sinister buggers! - It is necessary to see them taking a constipated air to speak about Art! But sapristi! The Art it is all the life. It is a voluptuous emotion (or religious... it depends on the minutes). Only intelligent people know how to be voluptuous only in special cases! [...]
Monday [June 9, 1902] : [...] In the meantime, I'm working on The Devil in the Belfry [after Edgar Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher], and I'd like you to read or reread this tale to get your opinion, there's something there where the real would mix with the fantastic in happy proportions. One would also find an ironic and cruel devil much more devilish than this kind of sulphurous red clown whose tradition we illogically keep. I would also like to destroy this idea that the Devil is the spirit of evil! He is more simply the spirit of contradiction and perhaps it is he who blows [on] those who do not think like everyone else? It will be difficult to prove that they were not necessary [...]
Wednesday [July 2, 1902] : [...] I saw Madame Raunay, she sang me fragments of Pelléas with the voice of an old man who is passionate and rather out of breath... I spoke about it politely to Carré who, naturally, took the attitude of a crumpled non-commissioned officer that you know him for [...]
Tuesday, July 8, 1902: [...] The success of "our Garden" does not surprise me; otherwise, one would have to have ears plugged with emery to resist the charm of her voice? For my part, I cannot conceive of a more gently insinuating timbre. It even sounds like tyranny, so much so that it is impossible to forget it [...]
Tuesday [July 22, 1902] : [...] However, I would have liked to tell you how happy I was to have seen you again, so much so that I feel a sensation of absolute confidence near you, and that is very rare for me, as I am rather closed up, so much so that I am afraid of my fellow men. There are things I have never spoken of except to you, which makes me find your friendship precious in a way I cannot say enough about... Do not find this story too childish, for the feeling I am talking about is perhaps higher than Love [...]
Bichain [September 1902] : [...] I have not written a
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