Manuscript in short score: Debussy, Pelléas et Mélisande, Act I, Sc. 1.
(Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Coll., Yale Univ.)
I find it interesting that something in the musical hand of Debussy seems to reflect the core values of French music in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries—contrary to the often aired popular misconception of “Impressionism” in music as a careless, hedonistic color wash, precision, balance, and finely measured detail are at the heart of the French school. But it is true that, as with the art of the period, these musical canvases are meant to be appreciated from a certain careful distance.