Sonate, que me veux-tu?

But what does it mean? Fontenelle’s famous outburst (literally Sonata, what do you want of me?) was aimed at the ‘pure’ music and abstract forms of baroque instrumental music. Essentially, the question is: how can something that has no ‘meaning’ mean so much? Abstract music was never Debussy’s ‘thing’; nearly all his works have some sort […]

The Japanese Wave

The original cover of Debussy’s score of La Mer (above) featured – at the composer’s request – a woodblock print by the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai, The Great Wave at Kanagawa; you can see the original below. A huge wave, reflecting and dwarfing the distant Mount Fuji, breaks over hapless fishermen in boats. The elemental power and danger […]