Abstract

ABSTRACT:

This article discusses the relationship of musical climax and orgasm by considering Claude Debussy’s L’isle joyeuse, a piano piece completed in the summer of 1904, soon after he started a love affair with Emma Bardac. By exploring the genesis of the piece and discussing musicological, sexological, narratological, and historical literature, it proposes a musical analysis based on the assumption that music is more likely to represent a sexual experience when its intensity curve and pacing scenarios have an analogic relation with those of sex. Biographical issues are at stake. Debussy’s marriage to Emma Bardac in 1908 has often been seen as resulting from social ambition, rather than from love and desire. Such a negative image, born in the aftermath of the Dreyfus Affair, returned in later narratives influenced by anti-Semitic prejudice. Yet, the story of L’isle joyeuse shows the intensity of their erotic relationship.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1477-4631
Print ISSN
0027-4224
Pages
pp. 24-60
Launched on MUSE
2019-08-23
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.