Carolyn Rynex, a Doctor of Musical Arts in choral conducting student, traveled to France as part of research for her final Doctor of Musical Arts document, "Claude Debussy and the Trois Chansons de Charles dOrleans: the Early Music Influence." She researched documents at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris and then travelled to the Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes, where she met with noted musicologist Fr. Patrick Hala and viewed rare documents relating to Debussys visit to Solesmes in 1893.
"I was thrilled to see the autographed manuscript of one of the Debussy pieces I had been studying, and to get some help deciphering and translating some of the text," says Rynex. "It was also enlightening to hear the monks of Solesmes singing Gregorian chant, and to attend several services. Exploring the monastery grounds and surrounding town was fascinating, as history came to life.
"From meeting with Patrick Hala and viewing the documents, I understood that there were discrepancies in the dates that Debussy may have been at Solesmes. However, Hala pointed out that the compositional style of Pelleas et Melisande, which Debussy began composing around the reported time of the Solesmes visit, showed a clear influence of Gregorian chant."