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
Dances for harp and strings
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Dances for harp and strings

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Claude Debussy
Passepied (Suite bergamasque)
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Passepied (Suite bergamasque)
Claude Debussy
La Cathedrale engloutie - from Preludes book 1
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La Cathedrale engloutie - from Preludes book 1
Claude Debussy
'Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir' from Preludes Book 1
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'Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir' from Preludes Book 1
Claude Debussy
Nocturne in D flat major
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Nocturne in D flat major
Claude Debussy
Preludes - book 2, no.5; Bruyeres
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Preludes - book 2, no.5; Bruyeres
Claude Debussy
Tarantelle styrienne for piano
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Tarantelle styrienne for piano
Claude Debussy
Berceuse heroique
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Berceuse heroique
Claude Debussy
Danse sacree et danse profane
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Danse sacree et danse profane
Claude Debussy
Andante espressivo, from Piano Trio in G major
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Andante espressivo, from Piano Trio in G major
Claude Debussy
Images II: Poissons D'or
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Images II: Poissons D'or
Claude Debussy
Images - set 1 for piano
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Images - set 1 for piano
Claude Debussy
Clair de Lune (Sayonara Wild Hearts)
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Clair de Lune (Sayonara Wild Hearts)
Claude Debussy
String Quartet - 2nd Movement - Assez vif et bien rhythmé
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String Quartet - 2nd Movement - Assez vif et bien rhythmé
Claude Debussy
Piano Trio in G major - III. Andante espressivo
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Piano Trio in G major - III. Andante espressivo
Claude Debussy
La cathédrale engloutie
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La cathédrale engloutie
Claude Debussy
Preludes Book 1; No. 8 La Fille aux cheveux de lin
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Preludes Book 1; No. 8 La Fille aux cheveux de lin
Claude Debussy
Passepied (from Suite bergamasque)
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Passepied (from Suite bergamasque)
Claude Debussy
Prelude from Suite bergamasque
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Prelude from Suite bergamasque
Claude Debussy
Marche écossaise
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Marche écossaise
Claude Debussy
The Girl with the Golden Hair (Preludes Bk.1)
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The Girl with the Golden Hair (Preludes Bk.1)
Claude Debussy
La sérénade interrompue (Preludes, Book 1)
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La sérénade interrompue (Preludes, Book 1)
Claude Debussy
Preludes - Book 2, No. 2 and No. 12
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Preludes - Book 2, No. 2 and No. 12
Claude Debussy
Preludes - Book 1, No. 5 and No. 7
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Preludes - Book 1, No. 5 and No. 7
Claude Debussy
La serenade interrompue (from Préludes - Book 1)
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La serenade interrompue (from Préludes - Book 1)
Claude Debussy
Dialogue du vent et de la mer (La Mer)
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Dialogue du vent et de la mer (La Mer)
Claude Debussy
La mer
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La mer
Claude Debussy
Suite Bergamasque - Prelude
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Suite Bergamasque - Prelude
Claude Debussy
Saxophone Rhapsody
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Saxophone Rhapsody
Claude Debussy
Feux d'artifice (Preludes, Book 1)
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Feux d'artifice (Preludes, Book 1)
Claude Debussy
Arabesque No.1
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Arabesque No.1
Claude Debussy
Feux d'artifice (Preludes, Book 2)
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Feux d'artifice (Preludes, Book 2)
Claude Debussy
L'isle joyeuse orch Molinari
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L'isle joyeuse orch Molinari

L'isle joyeuse orch Molinari

Orchestra
Lyon Opera Orchestra
Conductor
Claude Debussy
Feux d'artifice (Preludes, Book 1)
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Feux d'artifice (Preludes, Book 1)
Claude Debussy
La cathédrale engloutie - (No 10 from Preludes - Book 1)
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La cathédrale engloutie - (No 10 from Preludes - Book 1)
Claude Debussy
Des pas sur la neige (no 6 from Preludes - book 1)
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Des pas sur la neige (no 6 from Preludes - book 1)
Claude Debussy
Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Faun
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Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Faun
Claude Debussy
Prelude à l'apres-midi d'un faun
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Prelude à l'apres-midi d'un faun
Claude Debussy
No.12 Feux d'artifices - from Preludes Book II
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No.12 Feux d'artifices - from Preludes Book II
Claude Debussy
Minstrels (Preludes, Book 1)
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Minstrels (Preludes, Book 1)
Claude Debussy
Bruyères (Preludes, Book 2)
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Bruyères (Preludes, Book 2)
Claude Debussy
Les collines d'Anacapri (Preludes, Book 1)
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Les collines d'Anacapri (Preludes, Book 1)
Claude Debussy
Arabesque No.1
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Arabesque No.1
Claude Debussy
Danse 'Tarantelle styrienne'
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Danse 'Tarantelle styrienne'

Danse 'Tarantelle styrienne'

Orchestrator
Orchestra
Lyon Opera Orchestra
Last played on
Claude Debussy
L'isle joyeuse
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L'isle joyeuse
Claude Debussy
Sonate en trio (3rd mvt)
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Sonate en trio (3rd mvt)
Claude Debussy
Nocturnes, transc. Ravel for 2 pianos: no.2; Fetes
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Nocturnes, transc. Ravel for 2 pianos: no.2; Fetes
Claude Debussy
Syrinx
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Syrinx
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