Pianist Hershey Felder returns to TheatreWorks Silicon Valley in A Paris Love Story, taking on the role and music of Claude Debussy. He sees the composer as following sonic ideas that led him to a new musical language, marking a break from the traditions that had come before.
There’s more information on the TheatreWorks Silicon Valley website.
After taking on such composers as Chopin, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and even American icons Irving Berlin and Leonard Bernstein, Felder says Debussy’s works made him want to write A Paris Love Story. “Well, it always begins with the music… and I mean, this is the kind of music that to me is rather mystical. First of all, he pushed music to such a far degree, so much further than anybody could have imagined… He went about music in terms of sound first, not ideas. And up until him, it was musical ideas, musical structure, musical form. And he let that all go away to try and use sound to express the human condition. But sound alone. And that sound would actually guide what the result was.” He says this show actually has two characters – Debussy finding his musical voice, and Felder finding Debussy. “It was my mother’s favorite music, and as a child I was given the Clair de Lune to play when I was six years old. When I had… it was a year after I began studying, but I was a quick study, and I was able to play not so complicated things, when I was a child. And this, you know, technically it’s not all that complicated, musically it’s very complicated, and coloristically very complicated. But I was able to learn that when I was six, and then it was a lifetime of discovery as to where this music came from.”