You might be interested to know how this piece was received during Debussy’s lifetime. It was detested by the critics! They universally hated it. They would pay backhanded praise to the exquisite colors that Debussy got from the orchestra, but felt that that was just surface beauty, and that there was no form or depth to the piece. One critic said that the piece could easily be cut in half, since the second half was just more of the first.
The orchestra players who performed it initially weren’t much better. The first time the Berlin Philharmonic performed the piece, the players were openly laughing during the performance, and purposely playing out of tune. They had never heard nor played anything so idiotic in their lives.
It was the general concert-going public who took to it, almost immediately. They simply liked the way it sounded, and it soon became the most performed of all of Debussy’s compositions. But throughout his short life, the critics had nothing good to say about any of his music.
It was no better after he died. The week following his death, all of the newspapers spared a tiny amount of space to reflect on his accomplishments. One of his critics said “Debussy drank from his glass, which wasn’t large, but was made from thin crystal in which reflections, uncertain and changing colors, played out.”
My my my…how things have changed!!!