In Pelléas et Mélisande, instead of a librettist adapting the original play for him, Debussy chose to set the text directly, since Maeterlinck's play was in prose rather than verse. This contributes to the most famous feature of the opera: the almost complete absence of arias or set pieces... Instead, Debussy set the text one note to a syllable in a "continuous, fluid 'cantilena', somewhere between chant and recitative". (Wikipedia)
p 148 | Jean-Phillipe Rameau: these words appear in Phillipe Quinault's libretto Armide, set to music first by Lully in 1686 and then by Gluck in 1777 (not in an opera by Rameau, as Proust seems to have thought). (Clark)
p 149 | "...Arkel . . . Golaud ... the King of Allemande...": characters in Pelléas et Melisande. (Clark)
p 149 | Per omnia saecula saeculorum = for ever and ever, through all ages of ages, world without end; Requiescat in pace = May he/she rest in peace. Both phrases conclude prayers for the dead, both usually intoned with the last syllable falling a minor third, and followed by "Amen." (Clark)
p 149 | Cerement= Usually plural: a waxy cloth used for wrapping the dead, or any burial garments (Hamlet, act 1, sc 4)
p 150 | Costermonger: a person who sells goods, especially fruit and vegetables, from a handcart in the street.
p 150 | Antiphonary=one of 3 liturgical books used for the Divine Office (the others being the breviary & the choir psalter). The antiphonary contains, among other elements, antiphons, which are short sentences sung or recited before or after a psalm or canticle. Antiphonaries are fairly large so they are easily read by all members of a choir. Trivium= the lower division of the 7 liberal arts: grammar, logic, and rhetoric (input, process, and output). Subjects of the trivium are the foundation for the quadrivium, the upper division of the medieval education in the liberal arts, which comprised arithmetic (number), geometry (number in space), music (number in time), and astronomy (number in space and time). Educationally, the trivium and the quadrivium imparted to the student the 7 liberal arts of classical antiquity.
p 152 | "What insolent mortal comes to meet his doom?" "Was it for you this stern decree was made?" "In you alone, a certain grace I see/That always charms and never wearies me." (Lines from Esther by Racine). (Clark)
p 155 | Hippolyte Taine (1828–93): critic and historian, who had a profound effect on French literature. George Eliot, pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans (1819-80): English Victorian novelist who developed the method of psychological analysis characteristic of modern fiction.
p 156 | Mnemotechnia: a goddess not only of memory (time past) but of method (technia): she offers a way of remembering and recording the passage of time. (Ellen Eve Frank, Literary Architecture)