When choosing repertoire, we usually avoid choosing composers who were contemporaries of each other. This year, we broke that custom big time, as Ernest Chausson and Debussy weren't only alive at the same time, they knew each other quite well. The photo above was taken at Chausson's home in 1893. Debussy is at the piano, and Chausson is turning the pages for him.
Slightly older than Debussy, Chausson was one of his mentors at the Paris Conservatoire. According to Wikipedia, the two had a falling out five years before Chausson's untimely death, when Chausson, a traditional family man who lived in the country with his wife and five children, expressed disapproval at Debussy's more promiscuous lifestyle, though Debussy "never ceased to admire Chausson's music."
However, I wonder if the two actually remained on good terms despite their different lifestyles? Below is another wonderful photo of them, taken in 1897, only two years before Chausson's death. A perfect example of the camaraderie between artists and musicians during La Belle Époque, it was taken by the great artist Edgar Degas. From left to right: Edgar's brother Rene, Chausson, Debussy, and Mme. Eugene Rouart.
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