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Debussy's Legacy and the Construction of Reputation$
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Marianne Wheeldon

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190631222

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190631222.001.0001

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Debussyism, Anti-debussyism, Neoclassicism

Debussyism, Anti-debussyism, Neoclassicism

(p.65) 3 Debussyism, Anti-debussyism, Neoclassicism
Debussy's Legacy and the Construction of Reputation

Marianne Wheeldon

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 considers the effects of the contingencies of music and cultural history on reputation. The arrival of new artists or aesthetic tendencies on the Parisian scene forced writers to reconsider the recent musical past and to reshape it in accordance with present-day concerns. Cocteau, Les Six, Stravinsky, and Schoenberg all had significant implications for Debussy’s posthumous reception as historical frameworks were revised to integrate or denigrate Debussy’s position vis-à-vis recent musical developments. Chapter 3 examines three musical currents of the 1920s—debussyism, anti-debussyism, and neoclassicism—all of which had a notable impact on the early formation of Debussy’s legacy. Whereas the postwar turn to anti-debussyism was undoubtedly harmful for the composer’s legacy, Chapter 3 considers how the development of neoclassicism over the course of the 1920s was ultimately beneficial for the first stages of its recovery.

Keywords:   Claude Debussy, legacy, reputation, debussyism, anti-debussyism, neoclassicism, Les Six, Jean Cocteau, Igor Stravinsky

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