Claude Debussy


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
Debussy: Reveries de Bilitis - Music for Two Harps & Voice / Duo Bilitis
Release Date: 05/25/2018   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 95657   Number of Discs: 1
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Debussy: Jeux, Khamma & La boite a joujoux / Shui, Singapore Symphony
Release Date: 08/04/2017   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2162   Number of Discs: 1
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Debussy: Orchestral Works Vol 6 / Markl, Orchestra National De Lyon
Release Date: 05/31/2011   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8572583   Number of Discs: 1
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Messiaen: Visions De L'amen;  Debussy: En Blanc Et Noir / Van Raat, Austbo
Release Date: 04/24/2012   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8572472   Number of Discs: 1
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Debussy: ...Les preludes sont des images / Haring
Release Date: 05/18/2018   Label: Ars Produktion  
Catalog: 38246   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Rêverie

Browse 101-125 of 125 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Ultrasound - Music For The Unborn Child
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63457 Release Date: 04/13/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Alexander Brailowsky,  James Galway,  Marisa Robles,  Gerhard Oppitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Spivakov,  Arthur Fiedler,  James Galway,  Charles Gerhardt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra,  Boston Pops,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe  ... 
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  • 102.
    Fantastic Favorites / Jeffrey Reid Baker
    Label: Jrb   Catalog: 9004 Release Date: 03/02/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Robert Schumann,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Jeffrey Reid Baker
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  • 103.
    Classic Piano Favorites / David Watkins
    Label: Aca Digital   Catalog: 20059 Release Date: 12/16/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  David Watkins
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  • 104.
    Debussy: Complete Piano Music / Martin Jones
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 1773 Release Date: 10/07/1997   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Martin Jones
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  • 105.
    Reflections In The Water / Carol Rosenberger
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3190 Release Date: 08/22/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  Enrique Granados,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Carol Rosenberger
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  • 106.
    Debussy: Preludes, Piano Works / Jean-Yves Thibaudet
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 452022 Release Date: 08/13/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet
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  • 107.
    Romance Classics
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 1602 Release Date: 07/16/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Richard Strauss,  Ernö von Dohnányi  ... 
    Performer:  Jian Wang,  Carol Rosenberger,  János Starker,  Hu Nai-Yuan  ... 
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz,  Zdenek Macal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra,  New Jersey Symphony Orchestra,  Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center  ... 
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  • 108.
    Pastorale / Flute Force, Julius Baker
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1133 Release Date: 06/18/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Claude Debussy,  Anton Reicha,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Julius Baker,  Gretchen Pusch,  Rie Schmidt,  Wendy Stern  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Flute Force
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  • 109.
    Encores / Ludwig Streicher
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 225911 Release Date: 12/12/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luigi Boccherini,  Enrique Granados,  Pedro Valls,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Ludwig Streicher,  Astrid Spitznagel
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  • 110.
    Walter Gieseking Plays Debussy - Historic Recordings 1927-39
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1117 Release Date: 09/22/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking
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  • 111.
    Debussy: Piano Works, Vol. 1 / Thiollier
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8553290 Release Date: 09/19/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  François-Joël Thiollier
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  • 112.
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 446484 Release Date: 04/11/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Claudio Arrau,  Zoltán Kocsis,  Roger Bourdin,  Colette Lequien  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux,  André Previn,  Paul Paray,  John Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Quartetto Italiano,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 113.
    Debussy: Piano Works / Pascal Rogé
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 443021 Release Date: 10/11/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé
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  • 114.
    Romantic French Music For Guitar And Orchestra / Garcia
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550480 Release Date: 02/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré,  Erik Satie
    Performer:  Gerald Garcia
    Conductor:  Peter Breiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kosice State Philharmonic
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  • 115.
    Debussy: Complete Piano Music Vol 2 / Werner Haas, Noël Lee
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 438721 Release Date: 01/18/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Werner Haas,  Noel Lee
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  • 116.
    Debussy, Ravel: Orchestral Music
    Label: Chesky Records   Catalog: 101 Release Date: 01/17/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Eric Hammerstein,  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Proms Orchestra,  Beecham Choral Society,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 117.
    Parents - The Lullaby Album
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64897 Release Date: 10/12/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erik Satie,  Frédéric Chopin,  Robert Schumann,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Tzimon Barto,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Christopher Parkening,  Nancy Allen  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Sir Charles Groves,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Roger Wagner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 118.
    Dvorak: Cello Concerto;  Saint-saens, Etc / Pierre Fournier
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1016 Release Date: 10/01/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Gerald Moore,  Pierre Fournier,  Ernest Lush
    Conductor:  Walter Susskind,  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 119.
    Together Again / Julian Bream, John Williams
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61452 Release Date: 05/25/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Johnson,  Claude Debussy,  Enrique Granados,  Georg Philipp Telemann  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Bream,  John Williams
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  • 120.
    Night Moods / Carol Rosenberger
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3030 Release Date: 12/11/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Claude Debussy,  Franz Liszt,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes  ... 
    Performer:  Carol Rosenberger
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  • 121.
    Debussy: Solo Piano Music Vol 1 / Peter Frankl
    Label: Vox Box   Catalog: 5062 Release Date: 11/04/1992   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Peter Frankl
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  • 122.
    Van Cliburn Collection - The World's Favorite Piano Music
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 60973 Release Date: 07/14/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Van Cliburn
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  • 123.
    Lullaby / Arthur Fiedler, Boston Pops
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60876 Release Date: 02/11/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Johannes Brahms,  Claude Debussy,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 124.
    Classical Jukebox Vol II
    Label: Cbs Composers'greatest Hits   Catalog: 45737 Release Date: 07/01/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luigi Boccherini,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Aram Khachaturian,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Ivan Davis
    Conductor:  Andre Kostelanetz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Andre Kostelanetz Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
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  • 125.
    James Galway - Serenade
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 60033 Release Date: 06/28/1989   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Riccardo Drigo,  Gabriel Fauré,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  Marisa Robles,  Ayako Shinozaki,  Kazuhito Yamashita  ... 
    Conductor:  James Galway,  Charles Gerhardt,  Charles Dutoit,  Hiroyuki Iwaki  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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