Claude Debussy
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1862-08-22
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/be50643c-0377-4968-b48c-47e06b2e2a3b
Claude Debussy

Claude Debussy Biography (BBC)

Charting Debussy’s education tells us little about his roots. His rebellion against his teacher’s admonishment of his delight in a series of ‘forbidden’ harmonies resulted in his conclusion that ‘mon plaisir’ was the only rule: individuality and hedonism were all that mattered. His real teachers were close friends, lovers (sometimes), literature of many sorts and, perhaps, painting.

In his youth he was introduced to contemporary French poetry – particularly that of Banville, Verlaine and Mallarmé – through a relationship with an older woman. From song-writing he moved on to cantatas such as La damoiselle élue, a setting of a poem by the English Pre-Raphaelite poet-painter Rossetti. Debussy’s one outstanding operatic venture, Pelléas et Mélisande, occupied him for much of the 1890s, but in this decade he also deepened his ability to parallel the work of contemporary poets, both in songs and in the purely orchestral Prélude à L’après-midi d’un faune.

Another side of his output has often been compared to Impressionist painting. But the painter whose work is closer to Debussy’s ideas was James McNeill Whistler, whose series of works entitled Nocturnes may be connected to the composer’s orchestral triptych of 1897–9.

Never complacent and always seeking new challenges in every aspect of composition, in the new century he would turn to the evocation of entirely different places. Most celebrated is his only piece that resembles a symphony: La mer. It captures not only the sounds and rhythms of the sea, but also the changing weather and time of day. Further exploits – including the orchestral Images – would take Debussy to Spain.

Alongside these masterpieces of orchestral evocation, Debussy also developed a highly personal piano style. Perhaps the first piece to show a marked difference from his earlier piano music was the first piece from the two books of Images for piano, ‘Reflets dans l’eau’. Its rippling arpeggios, bathed in pedal, pioneered a new Impressionist piano style.

In the two books of Préludes for piano Debussy showed the infinite variety of his imagination. Enigmatically printed with the titles at the end rather than at the beginning, almost all the pieces have some kind of extramusical association: perhaps with a place, or a literary idea. The sequel to the Préludes was a set of pieces with no associations other than to themselves: a set of 12 piano Études.

Among the composer’s last works, the ballet Jeux is regarded as a highlight, and of the six planned late sonatas only three were written. Of the three unwritten sonatas, that for the extraordinary combination of oboe, horn and harpsichord must rank among the most lamented of planned works never to have reached fruition.

Profile © Richard Langham Smith

Claude Debussy Biography (Wikipedia)

Achille-Claude Debussy (, 22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918), known since the 1890s as Claude-Achille Debussy or Claude Debussy, was a French composer. He and Maurice Ravel were the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music, though Debussy disliked the term when applied to his compositions. He was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1903. Debussy was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and his use of non-traditional scales and chromaticism influenced many composers who followed.

Debussy's music is noted for its sensory content and frequent usage of nontraditional tonalities. The prominent French literary style of his period was known as Symbolism, and this movement directly inspired Debussy both as a composer and as an active cultural participant.

This entry is from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. If you find the biography content factually incorrect or highly offensive you can edit this article at Wikipedia. Find out more about our use of this data.

Claude Debussy Performances & Interviews


Claude Debussy Tracks

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Claude Debussy
Tarantelle styrienne (Danse), orch. Ravel
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Tarantelle styrienne (Danse), orch. Ravel
Claude Debussy
Nocturnes for orchestra, no.2; Fetes
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Nocturnes for orchestra, no.2; Fetes
Claude Debussy
Pelleas et Melisande – opening
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Pelleas et Melisande – opening
Claude Debussy
Iberia - from Images for Orchestra
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Iberia - from Images for Orchestra
Claude Debussy
String Quartet in G minor, Op.10
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String Quartet in G minor, Op.10
Claude Debussy
Ariettes oubilees: Chevaux de bois
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Ariettes oubilees: Chevaux de bois
Claude Debussy
Syrinx for flute solo
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Syrinx for flute solo
Claude Debussy
Syrinx (feat. Emmanuel Pahud (flute), Stephen Kovacevich (piano), Katarina Karneus (mezzo-soprano), Truls Mork (cello))
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Syrinx (feat. Emmanuel Pahud (flute), Stephen Kovacevich (piano), Katarina Karneus (mezzo-soprano), Truls Mork (cello))
Claude Debussy
Clair de lune (No.3 from Suite bergamesque for piano)
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Clair de lune (No.3 from Suite bergamesque for piano)
Claude Debussy
Violin Sonata 1st movement
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Violin Sonata 1st movement
Claude Debussy
Preludes - book 2, no.1; Brouillards
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Preludes - book 2, no.1; Brouillards
Claude Debussy
Rhapsodie for Saxophone and Orchestra, arranged for saxophone and piano
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Rhapsodie for Saxophone and Orchestra, arranged for saxophone and piano
Claude Debussy
La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin
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La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin
Claude Debussy
L'Isle Joyeuse
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L'Isle Joyeuse
Claude Debussy
Clair de lune from Suite bergamasque arr. for flute, harp, viola & piano
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Clair de lune from Suite bergamasque arr. for flute, harp, viola & piano
Claude Debussy
Images - set 1 for piano, no.1; Reflets dans l'eau
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Images - set 1 for piano, no.1; Reflets dans l'eau
Claude Debussy
Clair de lune
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Clair de lune
Claude Debussy
Passepied -from suite bergamasque
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Passepied -from suite bergamasque
Claude Debussy
Nocturnes for orchestra, no.3; Sirenes [with female chorus]
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Nocturnes for orchestra, no.3; Sirenes [with female chorus]
Claude Debussy
L'Isle joyeuse for piano
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L'Isle joyeuse for piano
Claude Debussy
Preludes from Books 1 & 2 (excerpts)
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Preludes from Books 1 & 2 (excerpts)
Claude Debussy
Chansons de Bilitis - 3 melodies for voice & piano (1897)
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Chansons de Bilitis - 3 melodies for voice & piano (1897)
Claude Debussy
Images: No.3 Rondes de Printemps
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Images: No.3 Rondes de Printemps
Claude Debussy
Suite Bergamasque: Clair de lune
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Suite Bergamasque: Clair de lune
Claude Debussy
Violin Sonata final mvt.
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Violin Sonata final mvt.
Claude Debussy
No.1 Danseuses de Delphes (Preludes book 1)
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No.1 Danseuses de Delphes (Preludes book 1)
Claude Debussy
No.7. La terrasse des audiences du clair - from Preludes Book II
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No.7. La terrasse des audiences du clair - from Preludes Book II
Robert Schumann
6 Studies (Op.56), arr. Debussy for 2 pianos
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6 Studies (Op.56), arr. Debussy for 2 pianos
Claude Debussy
Quartet for strings (Op.10) in G minor
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Quartet for strings (Op.10) in G minor
Claude Debussy
Sonata in G minor
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Sonata in G minor
Claude Debussy
2 Arabesques for piano, no.1 in E major;
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2 Arabesques for piano, no.1 in E major;
Claude Debussy
Mazurka for piano
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Mazurka for piano
Claude Debussy
Tarantelle styrienne (Danse) for piano
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Tarantelle styrienne (Danse) for piano
Claude Debussy
Preludes - book 1, no.4; Les Sons et les parfums tournent
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Preludes - book 1, no.4; Les Sons et les parfums tournent
Claude Debussy
Ballade slave (Ballade) for piano
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Ballade slave (Ballade) for piano
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