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Over Here, Over ThereTransatlantic Conversations on the Music of World War I$
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William Brooks, Christina Bashford, and Gayle Magee

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042706

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042706.001.0001

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Reflecting the Public Appetite in Text and Music

Reflecting the Public Appetite in Text and Music

Debussy’s Act of Wartime Propaganda

(p.58) Chapter 3 Reflecting the Public Appetite in Text and Music
Over Here, Over There

Barbara L. Kelly

University of Illinois Press

Claude Debussy’s final works were written under the twin shadows of terminal illness and World War I. In response to the latter, he emphasized his stature as a “musicien français” and used quotation and paratexts to challenge the boundaries of abstract music. Noël des enfants qui n’ont plus de maison, a work often dismissed as blatant propaganda, stands out for its lack of discretion in text and music. The reception of the performance of Noël at charity concerts and at a concert organized by Jane Bathori confirms both its contemporaneous importance and its ambiguous place in Debussy’s music and thought. Reframing that work in the context of the Great War facilitates a reconsideration of the whole of Debussy’s wartime compositions.

Keywords:   World War I, France, musical response, Claude Debussy, Noël des enfants, propaganda, quotation, Paratexts, performance, Jane Bathori

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