Claude Debussy
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/960x540/p01bqk7d.jpg
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)

Claude-Achille Debussy (22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918) was a French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music, though he himself disliked the term when applied to his compositions. He was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in his native France 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 Audio & Video


Claude Debussy Performances

Sort by

Claude Debussy
Children's Corner: The Snow is Dancing
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
Children's Corner: The Snow is Dancing
Claude Debussy
Deux Arabesques - No 1, Andantino con moto
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
Deux Arabesques - No 1, Andantino con moto
Claude Debussy
L' Isle joyeuse
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
L' Isle joyeuse
Claude Debussy
No.7. La terrasse des audiences du clair - from Preludes Book II
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
No.7. La terrasse des audiences du clair - from Preludes Book II
Robert Schumann
6 Studies (Op.56), arr. Debussy for 2 pianos
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqfz9.jpg
link
6 Studies (Op.56), arr. Debussy for 2 pianos
Claude Debussy
Clair de Lune
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
Clair de Lune
Claude Debussy
Premiere Rhapsody
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
Premiere Rhapsody
Claude Debussy
Suite bergamasque: Passepied
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
Suite bergamasque: Passepied
Claude Debussy
Danse
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
Danse
Claude Debussy
Violin Sonata in G minor - 2nd movement
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
Violin Sonata in G minor - 2nd movement
Claude Debussy
Chansons de Bilitis - 3 melodies for voice and piano
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
Chansons de Bilitis - 3 melodies for voice and piano
Claude Debussy
Estampes for piano, no.3; Jardins sous la pluie
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
Estampes for piano, no.3; Jardins sous la pluie
Claude Debussy
Danse sacree et danse profane
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
Danse sacree et danse profane
Claude Debussy
Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune
Claude Debussy
Syrinx (feat. herstone)
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
Syrinx (feat. herstone)
Claude Debussy
Reverie arr. for string quartet [orig. for piano]
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
Reverie arr. for string quartet [orig. for piano]
Claude Debussy
Tarantelle styrienne (Danse) orch. Ravel
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
Tarantelle styrienne (Danse) orch. Ravel
Claude Debussy
Chansons de Bilitis - 3 melodies for voice & piano (1897)
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
Chansons de Bilitis - 3 melodies for voice & piano (1897)
Claude Debussy
Rapsodie for alto saxophone and orchestra
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
Rapsodie for alto saxophone and orchestra
Claude Debussy
L'Isle joyeuse for piano
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
L'Isle joyeuse for piano
Claude Debussy
Preludes from Books 1 & 2 (excerpts)
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqk7d.jpg
link
Preludes from Books 1 & 2 (excerpts)
Load more performances
Playlists featuring Claude Debussy

Latest Claude Debussy News

    Alistair McGowan on Erik Satie, bohemian and composer of chill
    The comedian reveals his love for the French composer ahead of performing as part of PCM 3: A Satie cabaret
    Play on! How Shakespeare inspired 400 years of music
    A brief history of music's love for the Bard - in 6 Proms
    7 things to see at the Proms (if you think you don't like classical music)
    As tickets go on sale for the 2016 season, we look at a small selection that sums up the spirit of the festival
Back to artist