Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, commonly known by its English title Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, is a Symphonic poem for orchestra by Claude Debussy, approximately 10 minutes in duration. It was first performed in Paris on December 22, 1894 conducted by Gustave Doret.
The composition was inspired by the poem L'Après-midi d'un faune by Stéphane Mallarmé , and later formed the basis for a ballet choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky . It is one of Debussy's most famous works and is considered a turning point in the history of music; composer-conductor Pierre Boulez even dates the awakening of modern music from this score, observing that "the flute of the faun brought new breath to the art of music." It is a work that barely grasps onto tonality and harmonic function.
About his composition Debussy wrote: