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.