Claude Debussy – Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (L. 86), known in English as Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, is a symphonic poem for orchestra by Claude Debussy, approximately 10 minutes in duration. It was composed in 1894 and first performed in Paris on 22 December 1894, conducted by Gustave Doret. The flute solo was played by Georges Barrère.
The composition was inspired by the poem L’après-midi d’un faune by Stéphane Mallarmé. It is one of Debussy’s most famous works and is considered a turning point in the history of music. Pierre Boulez considered the score to be the beginning of modern music, observing that “the flute of the faun brought new breath to the art of music.”
Debussy’s work later provided the basis for the ballet Afternoon of a Faun choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky and a later version by Jerome Robbins.