Sunken Cathedral

This week Dr. Tobin discusses Claude Debussy’s Book I Prelude Engulfed or “Sunken Cathedral”. It is based on the legend of the sunken town of Y off the Breton French Coast. Dr. Tobin discusses how Debussy paints the image of a sunken cathedral that rises from the depths of the sea. After the discussion, he includes are recording he made on the piano Debussy composed it on, the Bluethner in Brive la-Gaillarde, France. For further contrast, Dr. Tobin includes a video he made at Mont St Michel on the coast of Normandie and a recording made on a Steinway Model A piano in Wetizkon, Switzerland.

Debussy Broulliards

This week Dr. Tobin is taking a suggestion from Jason Hoogerhyde, Professor of Composition at Southwestern University, to discuss the Book II Prelude Broulliards.

Dr. Tobin did a thesis which explored abstract pitch relationships in Debussy Preludes. This week the material is rather abstract, but he tries to keep it understandable. Debussy uses abstraction to create the image of mists and fog, to have blending and overlapping contrasted with flashes of light and clear white and black key contrasts.

Carbon and Parfum: Baudelaire through Debussy

This week Dr. Tobin makes a connection between two very special pieces, the prelude from book one, «Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir» (“The sounds and fragrances swirl through the evening air”) 1909, and  Les Soirs illuminés par l’ardeur du charbon (Evenings Lit by the Burning Coals). 1918. Debussy was inspired in both cases by poetry of Charles Baudelaire, listen to the presentation to see how that worked! A special treat at the end is Dr. Tobin’s performance of “parfums” on Debussy’s 1905 Bluethner piano in Brive la Gaillarde France.