I wish it had been by Ravel

I worked for years, decades actually, on a "lost opera found" by Claude Debussy (Rodrigue et Chimene).  It is a good story from Corneille's El Cid; an opera in 3 acts formerly thought to have been tossed in the fire by a temperamental composer and eventually, through a long line, starting with Debussy's mistress, Gabriel DuPont and ending with a pompous ass in New York who had more money than brains, in the rare book collection of a New York Rare Book Room.  It was a good chase and I learned a lot as over a period of years I went through the manuscript measure by measure, pieced it together, and wrote out a draft copy of it. I also learned a lot about publishers and distant family and frankly grew to dislike French artistic arrogance to the Nth degree.

It was heartbreaking.  So close. So close to a NY Opera world premiere with bookings in Houston and San Francisco.  Argh.

The page below comes from part of it that was extremely legible. Much of it wasn't. One whole act was what we call "fair copy", that is, all nice and neat and ready to go off to the engraver. Some of it was sketched in something like crayon.  It was a Sherlock Holmes endeavor to be sure made all the worse by Debussy's style itself.  Simply, Debussy
was what is generally called an impressionist composer, whatever that really means. His works, though really structured and soundly thought through, were also conceived by a mind that heard things differently than the rest of us and while works, in total, make a great deal of musical sense and are well appreciated, they are, a lot of the time, rather vague sounding; hints and wisps of suggestive sound and theme. Don't get me wrong, it is gorgeous stuff. This opera, however, was from a period that caught him in transition;  Willie Mays before the "say hay" time or King Kong when he was 4 feet tall. As such it wasn't so gorgeous although the talent was all there.

In working through it and learning his handwriting nuances, the task certainly turned from curiosity to a form of drudgery by the third year and angst by the 10th.  By year 15 it was an allergy. The ker-chu was compounded by a rather double-dealing person who had some manuscript rights and let an Englishman have access and published it in France where by copyright law, it has to remain. Alas. What I found was that as much as I liked Debussy's music at the beginning, having even taught a seminar course on him, by the end I wished it was music by someone else so in my reclining years I would yearn to listen to his compositions. 

I bring all this up in noting that my taste has changed over time. I noticed it this morning while reading email and listening to the Ravel piece that I plugged in two entries down.  I've heard that concerto 20 dozen times in my life and it still makes me play it again. It is clear and I can see it in my mind. Mr. Debussy, not so much.  I still like certain pieces here and there but in generally my brain gets lost in what I now regard as the confusion of it all; either that or my brain has become confused over time and needs to encounter greater clarity in order to keep sense of things.

I think of those years of work on hot, sunny afternoons like this. Not sure why. Any ideas?