The Afternoon of a Faun

The Afternoon of a Faunby Stephane Mallarme Translation from French by Roger Fry

These nymphs I would perpetuate.

So clear

Their light carnation, that it floats in the air

Heavy with tufted slumbers.

Was it a dream I loved?

My doubt, a heap of ancient night, is finishing

In many a subtle branch, which, left the true

Wood itself, proves, alas! that all alone I gave

Myself for triumph the ideal sin of roses.

Read the complete poem
Listen to Leonard Bernstein conduct Claude Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
“Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune” (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun), is a symphonic poem for orchestra by Claude Debussy. It was first performed in Paris on December 22, 1894, conducted by Gustave Doret; the composition was inspired by the poem “L’après-midi d’un faune” by Stéphane Mallarmé, and later formed the basis for the ballet “Afternoon of a Faun”, choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky.
A final reminder that on this Thursday, October 26th, we will be reading and discussing poetry that has inspired music (e.g. “The Lark Ascending” by George Meredith and “The Afternoon of a Faun” by Stephane Mallarme). We will also include poetry written by popular lyricists such as Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell. Please bring your own favourite examples – whether on the original or expanded topic.

See the SCHEDULE PAGE for submissions to-date.

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