À mon chevet is a series of posts featuring a quote from whatever book is on my nightstand at the moment.
After dinner Mary [Garden] and Lilly [Debussy] would sit and chat while Debussy sat at the piano and improvised. Mary treasured these hours: "I have never heard such music in my life, such music as came from the piano at those moments. My God, how beautiful it was, and haunting, and nobody but Lily [sic] and I ever heard it! Debussy never put those improvisations down to paper; they went back to the strange place they had come from, never to return. That precious music, lost forever, was unlike anything Debussy ever published. There was a quality of its own about it, remote, other-worldly, always saying something on the verge of words."This is from a fascinating book, recently received from Boydell Press, about the women who created the role of Mélisande. The quote is from Mary Garden's Story, a memoir that the Scottish-American soprano wrote about her life, with Louis J. Biancolli. Some more quotes and eventually a review are forthcoming.
-- Gillian Opstad, Debussy's Mélisande, p. 89
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