The Author, Harvey Lee Snyder,
earned a degree in music at Columbia
University, then worked in various capacities (including creative director and marketing VP) for the Columbia Record Club, Mercury and Philips Records, and Mills Music Pub-lishing. For the Record Club he wrote an illustrated history of American popular music, and he wrote album notes for Spoken Arts, Caedmon,
Mercury, Philips, and Columbia. More recently he was creative consultant for several direct-marketing companies.
In retirement he took up writing full time and returned to his roots in music. Afternoon of a Faun is his first
"Snyder renders the drama of Debussy’s ground-breaking compositions . . . as if he was conducting a well-prepared orchestra."
San Antonio Express News
Faun: the Book
"A readable, engaging biography! . . . Snyder
paints a vivid picture of Debussy and the artistic culture of the Belle Epoque in Europe . . .
An enjoyable account of Debussy’s life and times."
J. E. Wickell, CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries
Afternoon of a Faun presents Debussy’s life as a vivid, coherent, compelling narrative, in the context of Parisian cultural life and European history. It appeals to readers with a casual interest in music or a lifetime infatuation; a fascination with Paris’s belle époque or a curiosity about its most adventurous and influential composer.
From his early years at the conservatory to his evenings at Mallarmé's literary salons, from his scandalous love affairs to his dying days, Debussy's story is peopled with cultural VIPs such as Verlaine, Whistler, Wagner, Satie, Stravinsky, Nijinsky, Ravel, and Oscar Wilde. Excerpts from letters, memoirs, and articles by the composer and his friends bring scenes alive with colorful detail.
Debussy’s lifetime (1862-1918) spanned the entire renaissance of French art from Manet to Cezanne and Picasso, but the evolution of music lagged far behind. While other composers emulated Beethoven or Wagner, Debussy cast aside centuries-old rules governing harmony, rhythm, and form. Most importantly, he created a new musical language from uncommon sources, including medieval, baroque, and Javanese music; symbolist poetry and Poe's stories; and the paintings of J. M. W. Turner. From these he made music that “overthrew the very foundations of musical art, destroyed its highways, opened up a horizon of almost limitless expression,” said one critic, “and separated the music of the 20th century from that of the 19th.”
NEARLY ALL THE MUSIC DISCUSSED IN THIS BOOK CAN BE HEARD, IN SUPERB YOUTUBE PERFORMANCES, ON THE DEBUSSY'S MUSIC PAGES OF THIS WEBSITE.
Listen Now to
(from Pour le Piano)