Claude Debussy

Biography

Born: 1862   Died: 1918   Country: France   Period: Romantic
Claude Debussy (born Achille-Claude Debussy) was among the most influential composers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His mature compositions, distinctive and appealing, combined modernism and sensuality so successfully that their sheer beauty often obscures their technical innovation. Debussy is considered the founder and leading exponent of musical Impressionism (although he resisted the label), and his adoption of Read more non-traditional scales and tonal structures was paradigmatic for many composers who followed.
The son of a shopkeeper and a seamstress, Debussy began piano studies at the Paris Conservatory at the age of 11. While a student there, he encountered the wealthy Nadezhda von Meck (most famous as Tchaikovsky's patroness), who employed him as a music teacher to her children; through travel, concerts and acquaintances, she provided him with a wealth of musical experience. Most importantly, she exposed the young Debussy to the works of Russian composers, such as Borodin and Mussorgsky, who would remain important influences on his music.
Debussy began composition studies in 1880, and in 1884 he won the prestigious Prix de Rome with his cantata L'enfant prodigue. This prize financed two years of further study in Rome -- years that proved to be creatively frustrating. However, the period immediately following was fertile for the young composer; trips to Bayreuth and the Paris World Exhibition (1889) established, respectively, his determination to move away from the influence of Richard Wagner, and his interest in the music of Eastern cultures.
After a relatively bohemian period, during which Debussy formed friendships with many leading Parisian writers and musicians (not least of which were Mallarmé, Satie, and Chausson), the year 1894 saw the enormously successful premiere of his Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun) -- a truly revolutionary work that brought his mature compositional voice into focus. His seminal opera Pelléas et Mélisande, completed the next year, would become a sensation at its first performance in 1902. The impact of those two works earned Debussy widespread recognition (as well as frequent attacks from critics, who failed to appreciate his forward-looking style), and over the first decade of the twentieth century he established himself as the leading figure in French music -- so much so that the term "Debussysme" ("Debussyism"), used both positively and pejoratively, became fashionable in Paris. Debussy spent his remaining healthy years immersed in French musical society, writing as a critic, composing, and performing his own works internationally. He succumbed to colon cancer in 1918, having also suffered a deep depression brought on by the onset of World War I.
Debussy's personal life was punctuated by unfortunate incidents, most famously the attempted suicide of his first wife, Lilly Texier, whom he abandoned for the singer Emma Bardac. However, his subsequent marriage to Bardac, and their daughter Claude-Emma, whom they called "Chouchou" and who became the dedicatee of the composer's Children's Corner piano suite, provided the middle-aged Debussy with great personal joys.
Debussy wrote successfully in most every genre, adapting his distinctive compositional language to the demands of each. His orchestral works, of which Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune and La mer (The Sea, 1905) are most familiar, established him as a master of instrumental color and texture. It is this attention to tone color -- his layering of sound upon sound so that they blend to form a greater, evocative whole -- that linked Debussy in the public mind to the Impressionist painters.
His works for solo piano, particularly his collections of Préludes and Etudes, which have remained staples of the repertoire since their composition, bring into relief his assimilation of elements from both Eastern cultures and antiquity -- especially pentatonicism (the use of five-note scales), modality (the use of scales from ancient Greece and the medieval church), parallelism (the parallel movement of chords and lines), and the whole-tone scale (formed by dividing the octave into six equal intervals).
Pelléas et Mélisande and his collections of songs for solo voice establish the strength of his connection to French literature and poetry, especially the symbolist writers, and stand as some of the most understatedly expressive works in the repertory. The writings of Mallarmé, Maeterlinck, Baudelaire, and his childhood friend Paul Verlaine appear prominently among his chosen texts and joined symbiotically with the composer's own unique moods and forms of expression. Read less
Ravel, Debussy: String Quartets / Klinko, Davies, Chilingirian Quartet
Release Date: 03/20/2007   Label: Emi Classics For Pleasure  
Catalog: 82231   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $6.97
CD: $4.99
In Stock
On sale!   $6.97   CD:  $4.99 Add CD to Cart

Starry Night - Debussy / Michael Lewin
Release Date: 07/31/2015   Label: Sono Luminus  
Catalog: 92190   Number of Discs: 2
On sale! $24.99
CD: $22.99
In Stock
MP3 Available
On sale!   $24.99   CD:  $22.99 Add CD to Cart

MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

Brahms, Kodaly, Debussy, Tchaikovksy / Fournier, Holetschek
Release Date: 11/24/2009   Label: Orfeo  
Catalog: 798091   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $19.99
CD: $15.99
In Stock
On sale!   $19.99   CD:  $15.99 Add CD to Cart

Messiaen: Visions De L'amen; Debussy: En Blanc Et Noir
Release Date: 08/31/2010   Label: Cedille Records  
Catalog: 119   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $16.99
CD: $13.99
In Stock
MP3 Available
On sale!   $16.99   CD:  $13.99 Add CD to Cart

MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

Debussy: Complete Music for Piano Duo / Damerini, Rapetti
Release Date: 04/30/2013   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94448   Number of Discs: 3
On sale!
CD: $13.99
In Stock
MP3 Available
On sale!   $16.99   CD:  $13.99 Add CD to Cart

MP3:  $29.99 Add MP3 to Cart

There are 2,596 Claude Debussy recordings available.

Select a specific Composition Type or Popular Work or browse recordings by Formats & Featured below


Claude Debussy


WORKS
Debussy: La Mer, L.109 - 1. From Dawn Till Noon On The Sea (De l'aube à midi sur la mer)
Debussy: La Mer, L.109 - 2. Play Of The Waves (Jeux de vagues)
Debussy: La Mer, L.109 - 3. Dialogue Of The Wind And The Sea (Dialogue du vent et de la mer)
Debussy: String Quartet In G Minor, Op.10, L. 85 - 1. Animé et très décidé
Debussy: String Quartet in G minor, Op.10 - 2. Scherzo (Assez vif et bien rythmé)
Debussy: String Quartet in G minor, Op.10 - 3. Andantino doucement expressif
Debussy: String Quartet in G minor, Op.10 - 4. Très modéré - Très mouvementé - Très animé
Debussy: Children's Corner, L. 113 - 1. Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum
Debussy: Children's Corner, L.113 - 2. Jimbo's Lullaby
Debussy: Children's Corner, L. 113 - 3. Serenade For The Doll
Debussy: Children's Corner, L.113 - 4. The Snow Is Dancing
Debussy: Children's Corner, L. 113 - 5. The Little Shepherd
Debussy: Children's Corner, L. 113 - 6. Golliwogg's Cakewalk
Debussy: Images - Book 1 - 1. Reflets dans l'eau
Debussy: Images - Book 1 - 2. Hommage à Rameau
Debussy: Images - Book 1 - 3. Mouvement
Debussy: Images - Book 2 - 1. Cloches à travers les feuilles
Debussy: Images - Book 2 - 2. Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fût
Debussy: Images - Book 2 - 3. Poissons d'or
Debussy: Préludes - Book 1 - 1. Danseuses de Delphes
Debussy: Préludes - Book 1 - 2. Voiles
Debussy: Préludes - Book 1 - 3. Le vent dans la plaine
Debussy: Préludes - Book 1 - 4. Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir
Debussy: Préludes - Book 1 - 5. Les collines d'Anacapri
Debussy: Préludes - Book 1 - 6. Des pas sur la neige
Debussy: Préludes - Book 1 - 7. Ce qu'a vu le vent d'ouest
Debussy: Préludes - Book 1, L.117 - 8. La fille aux cheveux de lin
Debussy: Préludes - Book 1 - 9. La sérénade interrompue
Debussy: Préludes - Book 1 - 10. La cathédrale engloutie
Debussy: Préludes - Book 1 - 11. La danse de Puck
Debussy: Préludes - Book 1 - 12. Minstrels
1. Brouillards
2. Feuilles mortes
3. La puerta del vino
4. "Les fées sont d'exquises danseuses"
5. Bruyères
6. "General Lavine" - eccentric
7. La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune
8. Ondine
9. Hommage à S. Pickwick, Esq., P.P.M.P.C.
10. Canope
11. Les tierces alternées
12. Feux d'artifice


YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Already a subscriber? Sign In