Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing

Haiku Wednesday:  Getting Away From It All

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Painting, L'Embarquement pour Cythere by Jean-Antoine Watteau, couples in 18th century garb in an idyllic landscape with a body of water and cherubim in the background

L’Embarquement pour Cythera by Watteau

Where would you go now
To escape your cares and woes?
If you could go now?

Would it be some isle,
Warm, sunny, a sandy beach,
An azure ocean?

A forest clearing
Overarched with leafy trees
And dappled sunlight?

A remote cabin,
Soft rainfall gently tapping
The windows and roof?

A cityscape with
Humming traffic and lively
Nightlife, full of fun?

A snowy mountain,
Glistening in the moonlight,
Silent and peaceful.

You can see it now,
Can’t you? It’s in your mind’s eye.
Or maybe you’re there.

I hope you find peace
Wherever you may be now
On your joyous isle.

 

In 1904, Claude Debussy vacationed on the island of Jersey with his mistress (and later, second wife) Emma Bardac.  It was there that he put the finishing touches on the composition L’isle joyeuse.  Debussy deliberately used the English isle instead of the French ile to allude to Jersey.

This piece was influenced by the paintings of Jean-Antoine Watteau, in particular, L’Embarquement pour Cythera, pictured above.

Here is a fine performance of L’isle joyeuse by Marc-André Hamelin.

I hope you find your joyous isle, even for just a little while.

____

References

For more information on Debussy’s sojourn in Jersey, see http://www.litart.co.uk/index.htm , in particular, the page on L’isle joyeuse.

Also see https://notesfromapianist.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/j-is-for-joyeuse-debussys-lisle-joyeuse/

Image attribution

L’Embarquement pour Cythera by Jean-Antoine Watteau [public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:L%27Embarquement_pour_Cythere,_by_Antoine_Watteau,_from_C2RMF_retouched.jpg

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