Claude Debussy

Born 22 August 1862. Died 25 March 1918
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) was a French composer. He is sometimes seen as the first Impressionist composer, although he vigorously rejected the term. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Born to a family of modest means and little cultural involvement, Debussy showed enough musical talent to be admitted at the age of ten to France's leading music college, the Conservatoire de Paris. He originally studied the piano, but found his vocation in innovative composition, despite the disapproval of the Conservatoire's conservative professors. He took many years to develop his mature style, and was nearly 40 when he achieved international fame in 1902 with the only opera he completed, Pelléas et Mélisande.

Debussy's orchestral works include Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (1894), Nocturnes (1897–1899) and Images (1905–1912). His music was to a considerable extent a reaction against Wagner and the German musical tradition. He regarded the classical symphony as obsolete and sought an alternative in his "symphonic sketches", La mer (1903–1905). His piano works include two books of Préludes and two of Études. Throughout his career he wrote mélodies based on a wide variety of poetry, including his own. He was greatly influenced by the Symbolist poetic movement of the later 19th century. A small number of works, including the early La Damoiselle élue and the late Le Martyre de saint Sébastien have important parts for chorus. In his final years, he focused on chamber music, completing three of six planned sonatas for different combinations of instruments.

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Claude Debussy Performances & Interviews


Claude Debussy Tracks

Claude Debussy
Violin Sonata in G minor
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Violin Sonata in G minor

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Claude Debussy
Arabesque No 1 in E major
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Arabesque No 1 in E major
Claude Debussy
Images - set 2 for piano
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Images - set 2 for piano
Claude Debussy
L'isle joyeuse
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L'isle joyeuse
Claude Debussy
The Little Shepherd (Children's Corner)
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The Little Shepherd (Children's Corner)
Claude Debussy
Jimbo's Lullaby (Children's Corner)
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Jimbo's Lullaby (Children's Corner)
Claude Debussy
Dr Gradus ad Parnassum (Children's Corner)
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Dr Gradus ad Parnassum (Children's Corner)
Claude Debussy
Suite bergamasque
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Suite bergamasque
Claude Debussy
Suite from Pelleas and Melisande
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Suite from Pelleas and Melisande
Claude Debussy
La Mer - 3 symphonic sketches, no.1; De l'aube a midi sur la mer
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La Mer - 3 symphonic sketches, no.1; De l'aube a midi sur la mer
Claude Debussy
Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
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Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
Claude Debussy
La Mer
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La Mer
Claude Debussy
Preludes - book 1 I no.8; La Fille aux cheveux de lin
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Preludes - book 1 I no.8; La Fille aux cheveux de lin
Claude Debussy
Estampes for piano
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Estampes for piano
Claude Debussy
Images for orchestra: Iberia
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Images for orchestra: Iberia
Claude Debussy
La fille aux cheveux de lin (Preludes, Book 1)
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La fille aux cheveux de lin (Preludes, Book 1)
Claude Debussy
Le triomphe de Bacchus orch Gaillard
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Le triomphe de Bacchus orch Gaillard
Claude Debussy
Clair de Lune
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Clair de Lune
Claude Debussy
La soirée dans Grenade (Estampes)
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La soirée dans Grenade (Estampes)
Claude Debussy
Sonate en trio for flute, viola and harp
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Sonate en trio for flute, viola and harp
Claude Debussy
Syrinx for flute solo
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Syrinx for flute solo
Claude Debussy
Nocturnes
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Nocturnes
Claude Debussy
La danse de Puck (Preludes, Book 1)
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La danse de Puck (Preludes, Book 1)
Claude Debussy
Children's Corner: Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum
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Children's Corner: Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum
Claude Debussy
Quartet in G major, op. 10
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Quartet in G major, op. 10
Claude Debussy
Preludes Book 1: X. The Submerged Cathedral
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Preludes Book 1: X. The Submerged Cathedral
Claude Debussy
Feux d'artifice (Preludes, Book 2)
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Feux d'artifice (Preludes, Book 2)
Claude Debussy
Fetes Galantes
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Fetes Galantes
Claude Debussy
La Mer
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La Mer
Claude Debussy
La cathédrale engloutie
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La cathédrale engloutie
Claude Debussy
Arabesque for piano, No 1
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Arabesque for piano, No 1
Claude Debussy
Three Nocturnes
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Three Nocturnes
Claude Debussy
Beau Soir
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Beau Soir

Beau Soir

Performer
Anastasia Kobekina
Jean Selim Abdemoula
Claude Debussy
Preludes Book 1, No 12 "Minstrels"
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Preludes Book 1, No 12 "Minstrels"
Claude Debussy
Le sommeil de Lear
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Le sommeil de Lear
Claude Debussy
Fanfare Overture (King Lear orch Roger-Ducasse)
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Fanfare Overture (King Lear orch Roger-Ducasse)
Claude Debussy
Prelude à l'apres-midi d'un faune
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Prelude à l'apres-midi d'un faune
Claude Debussy
Voiles (Preludes, Book 1)
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Voiles (Preludes, Book 1)
Claude Debussy
Tarantelle styrienne
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Tarantelle styrienne
Claude Debussy
The Girl with the Flaxen Hair
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The Girl with the Flaxen Hair
Claude Debussy
Rhapsodie for saxophone and orchestra (arr. for saxophone and piano)
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Rhapsodie for saxophone and orchestra (arr. for saxophone and piano)
Claude Debussy
Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
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Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
Claude Debussy
Clair de lune arr for strings
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Clair de lune arr for strings
Claude Debussy
Premiere rapsodie for clarinet and orchestra
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Premiere rapsodie for clarinet and orchestra

Premiere rapsodie for clarinet and orchestra

Orchestra
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra Bratislava
Claude Debussy
Le magasin de jouets (La boite a joujoux)
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Le magasin de jouets (La boite a joujoux)

Le magasin de jouets (La boite a joujoux)

Orchestrator
Orchestra
Lyon Opera Orchestra
Conductor
Last played on
Claude Debussy
Arabesque no 1 in E major [arr. for wind ensemble]
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Arabesque no 1 in E major [arr. for wind ensemble]

Arabesque no 1 in E major [arr. for wind ensemble]

Performer
Béla Horváth
Anita Szabo
Zsolt Szatmari
Gyorgy Salamon
Pal Bokor
Tamas Zempleni
Peter Kubina
Claude Debussy
Premiere rapsodie arr. for clarinet and orchestra (orig. clarinet and piano)
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Premiere rapsodie arr. for clarinet and orchestra (orig. clarinet and piano)
Claude Debussy
Images Book 1: Reflets dans L'eau
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Images Book 1: Reflets dans L'eau
Claude Debussy
L'Isle joyeuse
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L'Isle joyeuse
Claude Debussy
The Girl with the Flaxen Hair (Preludes Bk.1)
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The Girl with the Flaxen Hair (Preludes Bk.1)
Claude Debussy
Cello Sonata in D minor (2nd mvt)
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Cello Sonata in D minor (2nd mvt)
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