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Debussy - Holloway: C'est l'extase - Ten settings of Paul Verlaine op. 118 (2012) 35'
for soprano and orchestra, arranged, linked, scored with an Epilogue by Robin Holloway

Music Text


Paul Verlaine (F)



Abbreviations (PDF)


This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World Premiere

Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA
Renée Fleming, soprano / San Francisco Symphony / Michael Tilson Thomas

Programme Note


Repertoire Note

This is exactly as described on the score: Ten settings by Debussy of poems by Paul Verlaine arranged, linked and scored with an Epilogue by Robin Holloway. Although originally composed for soprano and piano, this orchestration was commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony for the soprano, Renée Fleming. She also gave the British premiere with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Sakari Oramo. Following the American performance, the San Francisco Chronicle noted that Holloway’s "beautiful and imaginative treatment of familiar material offered a revelatory exploration of Debussy’s musical style".

Repertoire Note by Peter Marchbank

Press Quotes

"Debussy’s settings of texts by Paul Verlaine, originally composed for piano and voice, are richly expanded in Holloway’s new orchestrations… Green, melding word painting and musical line, was sublime; Mandoline, which ended the set, was nothing short of intoxicating. If Debussy’s settings take you right to the gate of Verlaine’s Romantic world, Holloway’s orchestrations usher you in, linking the songs, illuminating the view and affording the soloist a spacious backdrop."
San Francisco Classical Voice

"… a beautiful and often imaginative treatment of familiar material offered a revelatory exploration of Debussy’s musical style. To hear the composer’s piano accompaniments clothed in a note-perfect semblance of his orchestral manner was to understand just how much of the orchestral music is informed by the musical shapes of the keyboard."
San Francisco Chronicle

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