Ravel – Sheherazade, Debussy – La damoiselle élue


Henri Duparc also contributed some songs on this record, and since I have written extensively about Ravel and Debussy, it is now his turn. Born in Paris in 1848, Duparc studied under César Franck at a Jesuit college in the city. With Saint-Saëns he founded the Société Nationale de Musique, to promote French music, mostly as a reaction to the Prussian invasion of 1870-1871.

In 1885 Duparc was diagnosed with what was called neurasthenia, a mental fatigue that was also called Americanitis. It caused him to stop composing, and he never picked it up again. He lived for 48 years, but he didn’t create any more music. What’s more, after he also lost his sight at the turn of the century, he started to destroy his music. Only forty works are left nowadays. What a waste. What I heard from his works sounds very beautiful, and it makes me wonder about the things that were lost in his bitter rage.

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