"Prélude à `L'Après-midi d’un Faune´"

Not until I heard "L'Après-midi d’un Faune" for the first time did I know what music really is. No less an authority than Maurice Ravel was the one who used these words to express his boundless admiration for the work of his friend and colleague Claude Debussy. As early as the world première in 1894, the listeners were so enthusiastic about the fine nuances of sound, the instrumental colors and the transparency of the orchestral setting that the composition immediately had to be repeated, and even the poet Stéphane Mallarmé, on whose poem about the desires and dreams of a faun in the afternoon the work is based, was thrilled, despite some initial skepticism, and wrote to Debussy that the music offered no dissonance with my text, but rather truly went much farther into it to reproduce the longing and the light with finesse, melancholy and richness. Debussy had no desire simply to compose Mallarmé´s poem in detail, but rather wanted to translate the general impression of the poetic expression into musical terms.