Debussy on Bach

Mar 2, 2017

Here are a few words that one great composer wrote about another—and I wonder if you can guess who was writing about whom. Ready? “Once again one finds almost the entire piece is pure musical arabesque…In reworking the arabesque he made it more flexible, more fluid, and despite the fact that [he] always imposed a rigorous discipline on beauty, he imbued it with a wealth of free fantasy so limitless that it still astonishes us…” “We can be sure that [he] scorned harmonic formulas. He preferred the free play of sonorities whose curves…would result in an undreamed of flowering, so that the least of his manuscripts bears an indelible stamp of beauty.”

Okay. So. Did the name Claude Debussy happen to occur to you? Well, you were right. But that wasn’t somebody writing about Debussy. Those were the words of Claude Debussy, writing about Johann Sebastian Bach!

A Minute with Miles – a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.