There is a semantic feature in Jeux, currently neglected by the relevant literature, that deserves to be investigated with analytical methodology: the question of the ties between music writing and the erotic sphere. Sensuality was a primary source of inspiration in Paris in the early twentieth century, and it heavily influenced all of Debussy’s music. But Jeux was the work that knew how to stimulate the erotic imagination of the first listeners most intensely. The subject, with its explicit reference to the triangle of the ménage à trois, is animated by sensual tension. Yet there are also many elements of the score that express a tie with the notion of flirtation, understood as a preliminary, illogical and contradictory phase of the amorous experience. The timbre, rightly defined as frémissant by the first critics, expresses at once the ardor of strong erotic tension and the indecision with which one explores a new emotion. The circular thematicity, which always returns to itself, recalls the confusion of one who is experiencing the early stage of falling in love. The morphology shows a continuous contact between the notions of instant and instinct. The relationship between a form that is always looking forward and a thematicity that always rotates on itself expresses the indecisions typical of the initial phase of a courtship. And an analysis of the harmony shows a systematic refusal of a single center of gravity, which embodies the essence of sensuality as seen in its most conflictual and indecisive phase. None of these characteristics highlight the superficial parallels between the composer’s writing and the choreographer’s indications, but rather an intimate bond rooted in the primitive semantics of the game of love.

Il problema della sensualità in Jeux di Claude Debussy

MALVANO, Andrea Stefano
2014

Abstract

There is a semantic feature in Jeux, currently neglected by the relevant literature, that deserves to be investigated with analytical methodology: the question of the ties between music writing and the erotic sphere. Sensuality was a primary source of inspiration in Paris in the early twentieth century, and it heavily influenced all of Debussy’s music. But Jeux was the work that knew how to stimulate the erotic imagination of the first listeners most intensely. The subject, with its explicit reference to the triangle of the ménage à trois, is animated by sensual tension. Yet there are also many elements of the score that express a tie with the notion of flirtation, understood as a preliminary, illogical and contradictory phase of the amorous experience. The timbre, rightly defined as frémissant by the first critics, expresses at once the ardor of strong erotic tension and the indecision with which one explores a new emotion. The circular thematicity, which always returns to itself, recalls the confusion of one who is experiencing the early stage of falling in love. The morphology shows a continuous contact between the notions of instant and instinct. The relationship between a form that is always looking forward and a thematicity that always rotates on itself expresses the indecisions typical of the initial phase of a courtship. And an analysis of the harmony shows a systematic refusal of a single center of gravity, which embodies the essence of sensuality as seen in its most conflictual and indecisive phase. None of these characteristics highlight the superficial parallels between the composer’s writing and the choreographer’s indications, but rather an intimate bond rooted in the primitive semantics of the game of love.
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Andrea Malvano
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/152420
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