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Watch Caroline Gélinas sing Debussy's Chansons de Bilitis

By
Robert Rowat

To mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Claude Debussy on March 25, our colleagues at ICI Musique produced this artful video, directed by François Racine, of Debussy's Chansons de Bilitis.

They're performed by mezzo-soprano Caroline Gélinas and pianist Olivier Godin.

The three songs are settings of erotic prose poems by Pierre Louÿs who published them in 1894, claiming they were translations from ancient Greek when in fact they were his own. In a style that looks ahead to Pelléas et Mélisande, Debussy gives formal structure to the piano part to enable a freely flowing vocal line. Director Racine's dream-like concept enables Gélinas to inhabit the songs completely.

The three songs are:

1. "La flûte de Pan"
2. "La chevelure"
3. "Le tombeau des naïades"

Enjoy the video, and scroll down for more Debussy-related content.

More to explore:

10 surprisingly good covers of Debussy's 'Clair de lune'

Top 10 piano works by Claude Debussy

Watch Angela Hewitt play Debussy's 'Clair de lune'

Watch Marc-André Hamelin play Debussy's L'isle joyeuse

Watch clarinettist Eric Abramovitz play Debussy's Première rhapsodie