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Subject: Re: "Three Doctorate Degrees"
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:G. Paul Padillo
Date:Thu, 31 Aug 2017 10:11:24 -0400

text/plain (73 lines)

". . . feeling vaguely impatient and wondering at the gulf between myself an
and most other opera aficionados who profess to actually enjoy this opera."

I’m always a bit wary whenever reading assertions that, for no other 
reason than not liking that anyone else who does can only be “professing” to do so.

For the (broken) record, 
to do so.

For the (broken) record, Pelleas grabbed me by the throat and heart at a 
very young age, has never loosened its grip and remains one of my life’s de
dearest obsessions.  

Professor Lang is in “fine?” company with countless others who cannot 
appreciate or enjoy, never mind love, Debussy’s opera and don’t mind 
telling the “Cult of Pelleas,” just how wrong we are.  My entire adult life 
I’ve read arguments explaining Debussy’s so-called failure, with page-after-page of defenses by otherwise rational seeming humans compelled to join in a chorus of general disapproval.  I once had a teacher who told me to 
page of defenses by otherwise rational seeming humans compelled to join 
in a chorus of general disapproval.  I once had a teacher who told me 
to “shut the hell up about Wozzeck . . . NOBODY likes it.”  It almost seems 
to be a case of “I don’t like it, so no one can/should/will.”  She was not a 
good teacher.  

It goes without saying (yet here I am saying it) that those of us who do 
love and yes, enjoy, Pelleas can seem a tad sensitive when defending it, 
though in truth, it needs no defense from any of us who’re forever being 
lectured how Debussy’s opera is “too esoteric” or “too cerebral,” etc.   
While I wouldn’t argue against its being cerebral, what work of art 
isn’t? . . . . “too” is a fairly presumptive and subjective modifier projecting 
an unnecessary negativity.  As to “too esoteric” (or esoteric, at all) . . . I 
don’t buy it.  So, again, while needing no defenders, Pelleas has 
nonetheless been championed by many musicians I respect most, not the 
least of which include Desormiere , von Karajan, Rattle, Levine, Ansermet, Haitink
Haitink, Abbado, Dutoit, Cluytens . . . and they can’t ALL be wrong, right? 

In early 2004, Peter G. Davis wrote a marvelous article, “Demystifying 
Debussy,” stating, 

"Not everyone responds . . . but those susceptible to Pelleas's hypnotic spel
spell can never seem to get enough of it. "

Can I get an "amen?"

In an attempt to get people to shed their preconceived notions that Pelleas 
is inaccessible as a music drama, he cited a number of recordings that 
bring out the drama.  One of the lesser known is the “Rome Pelleas” with 
van Karajan leading Ernst Haefliger and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf as the 
doomed lovers.  Though unmentioned in the article , De Sabata also used 
Schwarzkopf in a recording from La Scala recording with no less than 
Jacques Jansen as Pelleas.  Jensen of course, was barely out of kneepants 
when he recorded the role for Desormiere and that recording remains (of th
the many I own) my hands down favorite.  

Oh my . . .  what was I saying about obsessions?  Never mind!  ;->


“The girl in your class who suggests that this year the Drama Club put on 
The Bald Soprano will be a thorn in people's sides all of her life.”
Fran Lebowitz, “Social Studies”

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