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Émergence du temps et du sens chez Mallarmé et Debussy

Michel Imberty - pag. 11-28

The music of Debussy and the poetry of Mallarmé feed off the same fears: fear of emptiness, of nothingness and death is intertwined with the luminous fulfilment of the moment. Meaning for Mallarmé is movement, the movement of the pure poetic creative act just as the movement brought about by reading the poetic text itself when the musicalities and symbols carried in the flux of speech knock against each other. This is one of the major consequences of the “disconcerting” experience of the reader caused solely by the musical suggestion of words and their soundings: it is precisely this discontinuity within the continuity of consciousness – or perhaps within the unconscious – that constitutes the temporality of emergence. It is this same temporality of emergence that I will try to describe in the work of Debussy. I will try to configure what struck the poet when he first heard the music of Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune. But what I will also try to show regarding this work and others by the composer is that this temporality of emergence is also wrought in live musical interpretation, in the movement imparted by the conductor. A comparison of recordings of Pelléas et Mélisande by Karajan and Abbado will reveal in particular the role of the conductor.

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