Debussy’s “Christmas for Children Who No Longer Have a Home”: A Carol of Patriotism and Defiance

In 1915, German armies occupied much of France, and Paris fell under aerial bombardment via Zeppelin airships and mono and biplanes. Throughout Europe, civilians were displaced.

In December of 1915, Claude Debussy composed the brief popular song, Noël des enfants qui n’ont plus de maison (“Christmas for Children Who No Longer Have a Home”). The raging words, also written by Debussy, form a prayer for French children, orphans, and the homeless. It is part Christmas carol, part defiant, vengeful anthem.

This was Debussy’s final song. Cancer would claim the composer’s life in 1918. The diatonic harmonic language resembles the songs of Gabriel Fauré.

This performance features the French soprano, Véronique Gens, accompanied by Roger Vignoles:


  • Debussy: Noël des enfants qui n’ont plus de maison, CD 147, L. 139, Véronique Gens, Roger Vignoles Amazon

Featured Image: French refugee children during the First World War, photograph by Lewis Hine

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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