Claude Debussy (1862-1918)

Syrinx for Flute (1913)

Syrinx was originally entitled "La Flûte de Pan", composed by Debussy to serve as a musical addition to Gabriel Mourey’s 1913 play, "Psyché". The Greek god, Pan, and the nymphs of Arcadia, including Syrinx, are the play’s subject. In the Pan mythology, Syrinx turns herself into reeds in order to escape Pan’s amorous pursuits. When Pan hears the tones of the reeds produced by the blowing wind, he is so taken that he forms the reeds into his Pan flute, which becomes his calling card.

This incidental music for the play was designed to be played by Pan himself, offstage, as the nymphs listened in, overcome with joy from the sound of the flute.