Julian Anderson - Tombeau

Tombeau sets the famous sonnet Debussy’s friend Stephane Mallarme wrote to honour a writer they both hugely admired, Edgar Allan Poe. Two of Debussy’s unfinished opera projects were to have been settings of Poe tales, so it seemed very appropriate to use Mallarme’s memorial sonnet as a memorial for Debussy himself. The sonnet is one of the poet’s most beautiful and includes a memorable line in which Mallarme likens Poe’s tombstone to a “calm block torn down to earth from some obscure disaster” – as if it were some kind of bizarre meteorite…

‘My setting uses the instruments employed by composers in La Revue musicale Debussy memorial, minus the guitar used by Manuel de Falla. Perhaps for that reason, in both the opening and closing of the work the ensemble is transformed into an imaginary giant guitar. Tombeau was requested by Stephan Meier to whom it is dedicated.

Julian Anderson’s Tombeau received its world premiere on Sunday 25 March 2018 in Symphony Hall, for the Debussy Festival.

Tombeau de Debussy
BCMG’s Tombeau de Debussy for the 21st century honours Claude Debussy as a founding father of modernity. In 1920, Henri Prunieres, director of La Revue Musicale commissioned a collection of new pieces by the most famous composers of the day, a tribute to Claude Debussy’s profound impact on musical tradition.

Commissioned by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group with financial assistance from Arts Council England and the following individuals through BCMG’s Sound Investment scheme:

Commissioner Level
Christoph & Marion Trestler

Sound Investment Level
Rob Adediran
Catherine & Derrick Archer
Kiaran Asthana
Richard Bratby & Annette Rubery
Avis & Peter Burton
Alan Carr
Simon Collings
Alan Cook
The Rt Hon the Lord Philip Hunt
Stephen Johnson
Amanda Cadman & Peter Marsh
Andrew Mason
Philip Mills
Kim & Kay Prior
Richard & Carolyn Sugden
Nest Thomas
Christoph & Marion Trestler
Stephen Williams

Note Maker Level
Samantha Bird
Seb Huckle