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
Stravinsky: Petrushka - Debussy: La boite a joujoux / Morlot, Seattle Symphony
Release Date: 06/10/2016   Label: Seattle Symphony Orchestra  
Catalog: 1010   Number of Discs: 1
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Chopin, Debussy, Corghi: Cello Sonatas / Chiesa, Baglini
Release Date: 04/28/2009   Label: Concerto  
Catalog: 2035   Number of Discs: 1
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Michelangeli Plays Debussy
Release Date: 03/21/2006   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 941   Number of Discs: 1
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Debussy: Preludes;  Liszt / Jorge Federico Osorio
Release Date: 07/10/2007   Label: Cedille Records  
Catalog: 98   Number of Discs: 2
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Debussy: Image, La mer, Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune / Bernstein
Release Date: 03/30/2010   Label: C Major  
Catalog: 701608   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: La plus que lente

Browse 76-100 of 127 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    Debussy: Complete Piano Works / Jean-pierre Armengaud
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47840 Release Date: 12/27/2005   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Jean-Pierre Armengaud
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  • 77.
    Michael Rabin 1936-1972
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64123 Release Date: 10/04/2005   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Niccolò Paganini,  Henri Wieniawski,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Rabin,  Leon Pommers
    Conductor:  Lovro von Matacic,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Alceo Galliera  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
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  • 78.
    Aldo Ciccolini - Homage To Debussy
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4353 Release Date: 08/09/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Aldo Ciccolini
    DVD: $28.99
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  • 79.
    Label: Clarinet Classics   Catalog: 10049 Release Date: 05/01/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Walter Mourant,  Clarence Raybould,  Fritz Kreisler,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Reginald Kell,  Leon Goossens
    Conductor:  L. Bridgewater
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Acetate,  Reginald Kell & His Quiet Music
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  • 80.
    Chill With Debussy
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8556788 Release Date: 09/21/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  François-Joël Thiollier,  Ellen Sejersted Bodtker,  Berit Cardas
    Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rheinland-Pfalz State Philharmonic Orchestra,  Kodály String Quartet,  Vertavo String Quartet
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  • 81.
    Debussy: Clair De Lune And Other Piano Favorites / Thiollier
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8555800 Release Date: 05/18/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  François-Joël Thiollier
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  • 82.
    Debussy - Orchestral Works / Dutoit, Ansermet, Chailly, Etc
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000213002 Release Date: 04/13/2004   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Robert Gugoltz,  Vera Badings,  James Earl Barnes,  Pierre-Vincent Plante  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Ernest Ansermet,  Bernard Haitink,  Charles Dutoit  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 83.
    Debussy: Piano Works Vol 3 / Jean-pierre Armengaud
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47578 Release Date: 01/27/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Jean-Pierre Armengaud
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  • 84.
    Debussy: Complete Works For Orchestra / Yan Pascal Tortelier
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10144 Release Date: 01/20/2004   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Colin Fleming,  Anne Queffélec,  Christopher King,  Rachel Masters  ... 
    Conductor:  Yan Pascal Tortelier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ulster Orchestra,  Grosvenor High School Choir Girls' Voices,  The Renaissance Singers
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  • 85.
    Musique & Art Nouveau - Ravel, Debussy, Et Al / Ariagno
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47672 Release Date: 11/25/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Ibert,  Francis Poulenc,  Germaine Tailleferre,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Cristina Ariagno
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  • 86.
    Violin Virtuoso Masterpieces / Mischa Elman, Joseph Seiger
    Label: Artemis Records   Catalog: 1199 Release Date: 11/11/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  William Kroll,  Arthur Benjamin,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Mischa Elman,  Joe Seiger
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  • 87.
    Debussy: Piano Music Vol 2 / Noriko Ogawa
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1205 Release Date: 02/25/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Noriko Ogawa
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  • 88.
    Tête À Tête - Debussy: Preludes, Estampes, Etc / Noël Lee
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 1001 Release Date: 10/08/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Noel Lee
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  • 89.
    Morceaux Intimes - Debussy, Faure, Ravel, Et Al / Mobius
    Label: Meridian Records   Catalog: 84440 Release Date: 03/05/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Maurice Ravel,  Gabriel Fauré,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Lorna McGee,  Ashan Pillai,  Alison Nicholls
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mobius
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  • 90.
    Faure, Debussy: Violin Sonatas, Etc / Tomasow, Holetschek
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 7017 Release Date: 11/06/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré
    Performer:  Franz Holetschek,  Jan Tomasow
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  • 91.
    Music Of Tribute Vol 2 - Debussy / Dokovska, Barbosa-lima
    Label: Labor Records   Catalog: 7032 Release Date: 10/30/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erik Satie,  Claude Debussy,  Manuel de Falla,  Albert Roussel  ... 
    Performer:  Pavlina Dokovska,  Ludmilla Gerova,  Carlos Barbosa-Lima,  Anatol Kristev  ... 
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  • 92.
    French Music For Harp And Strings - Ravel, Et Al / Bodtker
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8555328 Release Date: 09/18/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Pierné,  Jacques Ibert,  Erik Satie,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Ellen Sejersted Bodtker,  Per Flemström,  Fredrik Fors,  Sjur Bjaerke
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  • 93.
    Night Music 8 - Classical Favourites For Relaxing
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8556608 Release Date: 09/01/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Georg Philipp Telemann  ... 
    Performer:  Wolf Harden,  Takako Nishizaki,  Alexander Jablokov,  Quido Hölbling  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Edlinger,  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Barry Wordsworth,  István Bogár  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kodály String Quartet,  Capella Istropolitana,  Kosice Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 94.
    Debussy - Greatest Hits
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63803 Release Date: 08/07/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Kathryn Stott,  Catherine Collard,  James Galway,  Michel Dalberto
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  James Galway
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Guarneri String Quartet,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe
    CD: $8.99
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  • 95.
    Rubinstein Collection Vol 80 - Recital For Israel
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63080 Release Date: 08/07/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Frédéric Chopin,  Claude Debussy,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein
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  • 96.
    Debussy: Estampes / Kyoko Tabe
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9912 Release Date: 06/26/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Kyoko Tabe
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  • 97.
    Scene  600 Years - Music From Six Centuries / Calefax Reed
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 6191043 Release Date: 03/27/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Bendusi,  Johannes Ockeghem,  Anonymous,  William Byrd  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Calefax Reed Quintet
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  • 98.
    Live Recital No 1 / Harold Wright
    Label: Boston Records   Catalog: 1023 Release Date: 01/01/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Witold Lutoslawski,  Francis Poulenc,  Bohuslav Martinu,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Luis Batlle,  Harold Wright
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  • 99.
    Harvey Aurandt, Mozart, Chopin, Debussy / Robert Hamilton
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 278 Release Date: 11/21/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Frédéric Chopin,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Paul Harvey Aurandt
    Performer:  Robert Hamilton
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  • 100.
    Debussy: 2 Arabesques, Rêverie, Etc / David Allen Wehr
    Label: Connoisseur Society   Catalog: 4219 Release Date: 10/27/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  David Allen Wehr
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