Debussy the Gourmand
Debussy in 1897
"After hearing consummate pianist Paul Roberts discussing and playing Debussy’s Préludes at the Barbican, supper at Club Gascon’s Le Bar reveals perfect goose rillettes among the “frapas”."
I am grateful to Fay Maschler, celebrated food critic of the London Evening Standard, for her kind words. She had attended my lecture-recital Capturing the Illusive Image last year at Milton Court Recital Hall, Barbican
I love the thought that my recital was such a natural prelude to a delectable meal. Debussy would have liked that. He was renowned for his refined appreciation of food, even when at his most impecunious (which was most of the time), as the painter Jacques-Emile Blanche recalled: 'How many times have I come across him leaving Cuvillier's with a bottle of port and caressing a pot of caviare, which he would then consume alone in his unheated apartment.' (from Debussy Remembered, ed. Roger Nichols)
Debussy could allude to food in his own writing too, in conjunction with disparaging comments (of which he was a master) directed at pianists. To Jacques Durand, his publisher, he remarked that 'pianists for the most part are poor musicians, cutting music up into unequal lumps like a chicken.' I have spent my performing career trying to avoid this pitfall.