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
Debussy: Sonate, Syrinx, Chansons De Bilitis, Etc / Bernold, Moretti, Causse, Jacob
Release Date: 07/10/2012   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 501647   Number of Discs: 1
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Rameau: Nouvelles Suites;  Debussy / Alexandre Tharaud
Release Date: 02/12/2002   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 901754   Number of Discs: 1
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Gershwin, Ravel, Debussy / O'Riley, Wordsworth, Royal PO
Release Date: 08/11/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28050   Number of Discs: 1
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20th Century String Quartets - Debussy, Ravel, Toldra & Zemlinsky / Cuarteto Casals
Release Date: 07/10/2012   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 508390   Number of Discs: 2
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Strauss, Faure, Debussy, Poulenc, Wolf & Berg: Songs / Christiane Karg
Release Date: 09/24/2013   Label: Wigmore Hall Live  
Catalog: 62   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Préludes, Book 2

Browse 26-50 of 93 Available Recordings
1 2 3 4
  • 26.
    Hommage A Debussy Vol 3 - Works For Piano / Chenyin Li
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 12228 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Chenyin Li
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  • 27.
    Debussy Piano Edition [6-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001675602 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet,  Alfons Kontarsky,  Aloys Kontarsky,  Anne Shasby  ... 
    Conductor:  Iván Fischer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontarsky Duo,  Budapest Festival Orchestra
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  • 28.
    Debussy: Complete Piano Works / Walter Gieseking
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 55917 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking
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  • 29.
    The Debussy Edition [18-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001676372 Release Date: 05/01/2012   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Franklin Cohen,  Jean-Rodolphe Kars,  Vera Badings,  Krystian Zimerman  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Sir Alexander Gibson,  Bernard Haitink,  Eduard Van Beinum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 30.
    Debussy: Preludes I & Ii / Walter Gieseking
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 6783332 Release Date: 03/26/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking
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  • 31.
    Debussy: Complete Works For Piano
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 4010 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
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  • 32.
    Debussy: Complete Orchestral Works / Jun Markl, Orchestre National De Lyon
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8509002 Release Date: 02/28/2012   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet,  Paul Meyer,  Alexandre Doisy,  Emmanuel Ceysson
    Conductor:  Jun Märkl
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Orchestra,  Leipzig Radio Chorus
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  • 33.
    Debussy: The Solo Piano Works / Noriko Ogawa
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1955 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Noriko Ogawa
    Conductor:  Lan Shui
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Singapore Symphony Orchestra
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  • 34.
    Debussy: Complete Works For Piano / Gieseking
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 4010 Release Date: 11/22/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking
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  • 35.
    Debussy: Oeuvres Pour Piano / Albert Ferber
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 0833802 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Albert Ferber
    CD: $27.49
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  • 36.
    Label: Pro Piano   Catalog: 224525 Release Date: 06/21/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Vladimir Viardo
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  • 37.
    Debussy: Complete Solo Piano Music / Larissa Dedova
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3094/7 Release Date: 05/24/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Larissa Dedova
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  • 38.
    Debussy, Ravel And Bartok / Monique Haas
    Label: Dg Double   Catalog: 439666 Release Date: 03/24/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Monique Haas
    Conductor:  Paul Paray,  Ferenc Fricsay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Richter In Spoleto
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 108 Release Date: 10/05/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Recorded Sound,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Robert Schumann,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
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  • 40.
    Label: Dal Segno   Catalog: 43 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Jacques Rouvier
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  • 41.
    The Genius Of Dino Ciani
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94069 Release Date: 08/10/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Robert Schumann,  Claude Debussy,  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Dino Ciani
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  • 42.
    2008 Award Winner Alexander Schimpf
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 10181 Release Date: 07/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Adrian Sieber,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Alexander Schimpf
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  • 43.
    Great Short Masterpieces For Piano - Schubert, Berio, Et Al / Michal Tal
    Label: Romeo Entertainment   Catalog: 7278/9 Release Date: 11/24/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Claude Debussy,  Erik Satie,  Luciano Berio
    Performer:  Michal Tal
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  • 44.
    Debussy: Images / Denis Pascal
    Label: Eloquentia   Catalog: 0814 Release Date: 07/07/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Denis Pascal
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  • 45.
    Icon - Walter Gieseking - Poet Of The Keyboard
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 65081 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Edvard Grieg,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking,  Bernard Walton,  Sidney Sutcliffe,  Cecil James  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Schröder,  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hessian Radio Orchestra Frankfurt,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 46.
    Label: Calliope   Catalog: 5831 Release Date: 04/07/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
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  • 47.
    Debussy: Estampes, Images Book 2, Preludes Book 2 / Russell Sherman
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2164 Release Date: 11/25/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Russell Sherman
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  • 48.
    Couperin: Les Folies Francaises Ou Les Dominos;  Debussy: Preludes, Etc / Cedric Pescia
    Label: Claves   Catalog: 2719 Release Date: 10/10/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Olivier Messiaen,  Claude Debussy,  François Couperin
    Performer:  Cédric Pescia
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  • 49.
    The Master Pianist / Youri Egorov
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 06531 Release Date: 06/10/2008   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Youri Egorov
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 50.
    Koroliov Series Vol. Vii - Debussy: Preludes
    Label: Tacet   Catalog: 131 Release Date: 04/20/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Yevgeny Koroliov
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1 2 3 4

Claude Debussy


WORKS
1. From Dawn Till Noon On The Sea (De l'aube à midi sur la mer)
2. Play Of The Waves (Jeux de vagues)
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
1. Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum
2. Jimbo's Lullaby
3. Serenade For The Doll
4. The Snow Is Dancing
5. The Little Shepherd
6. Golliwogg's Cakewalk
1. Reflets dans l'eau
2. Hommage à Rameau
3. Mouvement
1. Cloches à travers les feuilles
2. Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fût
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