Book Reviews

★★★★★"Absolutely wonderful ... fascinating and well-researched"

"So beautifully written and a downright exciting look at a turning point in music. What this text does . . . is put Prelude to 'Afternoon of a Faun'  in context with not only Debussy's career but also the intersection of classical composition, opera, dance, and the scoring of plays at the end of the 19th century. Snyder brings Belle Epoque Paris to life with such grandeur that you really do wish you could step back to a time when so much was changing in all range of the arts. Hardly a hagiography, Debussy himself comes off as conflicted yet brilliant, revolutionary yet fallible (and occasionally even lazy)." 

                            Mark G. Wheaton, on Amazon


"Snyder's Afternoon of a Faun provides one of the most accessible yet comprehensive examinations of Debussy, his art, and his influence on modern music. The author highlights Debussy's radical innovations in sound while giving keen insights into the personalities and passions driving the composer's creative spirit. Overall, an excellent overview for fans of Debussy's music who want to know more about the man's creative journey and philosophy."

                          Justin, review in Goodreads

"Fantastic and enjoyable read!"

"I learned a great deal about Debussy and felt like I knew him as a person after reading this book. The author draws on [various] sources, including many of Debussy’s letters, to paint a detailed portrait of this famous composer. Dates, names and places are always accompanied by reflections from the composer or his close friends, which brought this beautiful biography to life! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it."

                                           cg1-rj, on Amazon

"Snyder's Afternoon of a Faun,

about the life and music of

Debussy, was hard to put down.

A grand achievement!"

           Deal W. Hudson, publisher and editor, 

           The Christian Review

Marvelous biography ... fascinating!

"Music historians point to certain events which they claim ended one musical era and began the next. For example, it is said that the death of Johann Sebastian Bach in 1750 ended the Baroque period. As for the end of the Romantic period approximately 150 years later, it is not anyone’s death that triggered it but the life of French composer Claude Debussy. This is one of the central themes of Afternoon of a Faun, Harvey Lee Snyder’s marvelous biography of Debussy.

. . .  Snyder effectively conveys the circumstances of a man whose musical vision stretched deep into the 20th century but who could never quite overcome the political, emotional, and financial turmoil of his everyday life. In Snyder’s prose, it’s an irony as tragic as it is fascinating." 

                R. C. Speck,  review in QuarterNotes

A good general introduction to

the life and work of Debussy

"Snyder . . .  covers here all the major pieces of Debussy’s music (and a number of the minor ones, as well, among them some unfinished operas) in mostly short chronological chapters. The music makes its appearance as a part of the life, but does not dominate the main biographical story. This approach makes this book a good general introduction to the life and work of Claude Debussy."

                   Alan Swanson, review in Fanfare


“I was delighted by Afternoon of a Faun. The biography is thorough, compelling, and scholarly without being dry in the slightest. The end result is marvelous, reflecting many years of hard work and research. Very well done!”

                              John Merlino, percussionist

★★★★★ I was enthralled!

"As someone who's always felt a special attraction to Debussy's music, I was enthralled by Snyder's book, which fleshed out many details not only about the composer's seminal work Afternoon of a Faun (as well as his many other compositions), but Debussy's life itself. Highly recommended."

              Ray Grasse, on Amazon

★★★★★ Can't put it down!

"A must-read if you want to learn about Debussy. The author's very good at storytelling"

                      John Z, on Amazon

"Readable, engaging biography"

"Snyder paints a vivid picture of Debussy and the artistic culture of the Belle Epoque in Europe. . . . The author details Debussy’s early life, his artistic connections and influences, and the reception and impact of his music. Snyder also illuminates the importance of Debussy’s less-known works, creating a rich narrative of his legacy. . . . An enjoyable account of Debussy’s life and times." 

                J. E. Wickell, review in CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries

"Snyder renders the drama of Debussy’s ground-breaking compositions in his biography 'Afternoon of a Faun,' as if he was conducting a well-prepared orchestra."

"By the end of the biography, readers can easily agree with what French [musicologist] Léon Vallas wrote — that Debussy’s music 'separated the music of the 20th century from that of the 19th, in the same manner as the art of Beethoven separated the 19th and 18th centuries.' Snyder’s biography will connect many musical history dots for readers familiar with classical repertory."

                                                    David Hendricks, review in San Antonio Express News

Afternoon of a Faun:
How Debussy Created a New Music

for the Modern World

is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble,

and your favorite booksellers. Also available for Kindle, Nook, and other formats.