June 28

Debussy and Saint-Saëns as Seen by Viafora 
in Musical America

Today from Viafora’s “Gallery of Celebrities in Musical America we present the artist’s caricatures of the distinguished French composers Claude Debussy and Camille Saint-Saëns. We also include several interesting and amusing texts about them from Musical America. Why was Debussy “the most misunderstood man in the artistic world”? Why did Saint-Saëns insist on bringing his toothbrush to an evening soirée? Read on to find out!

Claude Debussy
Vol. 24 No. 26 ( 28 October 1916): 7; Vol. 18 No. 23 (11 October 1913): 2.

“Keeping in Touch with World’s Music Growth Through the Piano,”
Vol. 13 No. 13 (4 February 1911): 13.

Vol. 13 No. 22 (8 April 1911): 7. 

The following article was written by the soprano Maggie Teyte, whom Debussy personally chose to replace Mary Garden in the role of Mélisande for his opera, Pelléas et Mélisande.

Vol. 18 No. 23 (11 October 1913): 2. 

Read more from this article by clicking here: Maggie Teyte Corrects Some False Ideas About Debussy

Below, Mary Garden, who originated the role of Mélisande, speaks about her relationship with Debussy.

Debussy playing Debussy…


*         *         *

A 1900 photograph of Saint-Saëns alongside Viafora’s caricature of  the composer as “Samson” 
(left) Camille Saint-Saëns. photographed by Pierre Petit (1900); (right) Vol. 25 No. 2 (11 November 1916): 7.

“Echoes of Music Abroad,” Vol. 16 No. 11 (20 July 1912): 11. 



Vol. 35 No. 9 (24 December 1921): 1. 

Read more from this article by clicking here: “Musical World Loses Grand Old Man”



With the conclusion of this post, RIPM’s Curios, News and Chronicles signs off for a brief summer hiatus.  We will be back in September with more compelling and entertaining material from the musical press. In the meantime, the staff at the RIPM Center wishes you a wonderful summer!


RIPM search tip: In the event that you wish to pursue research on these two composers, note that the name Debussy appears in the RIPM Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals in 2,020 citations, and that of Saint-Saëns in 2,787 citations.  In RIPM’s European and North American Music Periodicals (Preservation Series), Debussy’s name appears on 17,767 pages, and Saint-Saëns on 31,692 pages! 

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RIPM is an international non-profit organization preserving and providing access to music periodicals published in more than twenty countries between approximately 1760 and 1966, from Bach to Bernstein.  Functioning under the auspices of the International Musicological Society, and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, RIPM produces four electronic publications: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals, Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text, RIPM European and North American Music Periodicals (Preservation Series), and RIPM Jazz Periodicals (Preservation Series, forthcoming).


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Posted June 28, 2018 by Ben Knysak in category "Curios and Chronicles", "Illustration(s) of the Week