Prélude A L'après-midi D'un Faune

Album: Prélude A L'après-midi D'un Faune (1894)

Songfacts®:

  • The symphonic poem "Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune" (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun), was first performed in Paris on December 22, 1894, conducted by Gustave Doret. The work was based on a poem about a faun playing panpipes and falling into a languorous sleep after an exhausting session chasing nymphs around the woods.
  • The tone poem was intended by Claude Debussy to be the first of three pieces, but the planned Interlude and Paraphrase Finale were never written.
  • In 1912 a ballet choreographed by the Russian ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky using the music of Debussy's tone poem was premiered in Paris by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. The production caused quite a scandal when Nijinsky - dressed up as a faun - performed an erotic dance to the piece on the stage.
  • The symphonic poem features prominently in the 1949 film Portrait of Jennie, and is used as a musical motif for the titular character played by Jennifer Jones.

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