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Encyclopedia > Claude Debussy
Claude Debussy, photo by Félix Nadar, ca. 1908.
Claude Debussy, photo by Félix Nadar, ca. 1908.

Achille-Claude Debussy (IPA /aʃil klod dəby'si/) (August 22, 1862March 25, 1918) was a French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel he is considered the most prominent figure working within the style commonly referred to as Impressionist music, though he himself intensely disliked the term when applied to his compositions. Debussy was not only among the most important of all French composers but also a central figure in all European music at the turn of the twentieth century. His music virtually defines the transition from late-Romantic music to twentieth century modernist music. In French literary circles, the style of this period was known as Symbolism, a movement that directly inspired Debussy both as a composer and as an active cultural participant. Image File history File links Claude_Debussy_ca_1908,_foto_av_Félix_Nadar. ... Image File history File links Claude_Debussy_ca_1908,_foto_av_Félix_Nadar. ... Nadar (self-portrait) Nadar (Gaspard-Félix Tournachon) - Self-portrait For the Tamil caste, see Nadar caste. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... August 22 is the 234th day of the year (235th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1862 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... March 25 is the 84th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (85th in leap years). ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... A composer is a person who writes music. ... Maurice Ravel in 1912. ... The impressionist movement in music is a movement in European classical music that had its beginnings in the late nineteenth century and continued into the middle of the twentieth century. ... The era of Romantic music is defined as the period of European classical music that runs roughly from the early 1800s to the first decade of the 20th century, as well as music written according to the norms and styles of that period. ... Modernism in musicis characterized by a desire for or belief in progressand science, surrealism, anti-romanticism, politicaladvocacy, general intellectualism, and/or a breaking with tradition or common practice. ...

Contents

Biography

Early life and studies

Debussy at the Villa Médici in Rome, 1885, at centre in the white jacket
Debussy at the Villa Médici in Rome, 1885, at centre in the white jacket

Claude Debussy was born in St. Germain-en-Laye in 1862. His father owned a china shop and his mother was a seamstress. Debussy began music instruction when he was seven years old. His talents soon became evident and at age ten Debussy entered the Paris Conservatoire. During Debussy's twelve years at the Paris Conservatoire beginning in 1872, he studied with Ernest Guiraud, César Franck and other significant figures of the era. From 1880 to 1882 He was employed by the patron of Tchaikovsky, Nadezhda von Meck, giving music lessons to her children.[1] Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1850x1416, 1654 KB) Descrição Claude Debussy em fotografia de grupo na Villa Médicis, em 27 de Janeiro de 1885. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1850x1416, 1654 KB) Descrição Claude Debussy em fotografia de grupo na Villa Médicis, em 27 de Janeiro de 1885. ... Saint-Germain-en-Laye is a city west of Paris, in the Yvelines département (of which it is a sous-préfecture), in the Ile-de-France région, in France. ... Conservatoire de Paris, or Paris Conservatoire, has been central to the evolution of music in France and Western Europe. ... Ernest Guiraud (June 26, 1837 – May 6, 1892) was a French composer born in New Orleans, USA. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire, where he won the Grand Prix de Rome. ... César-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert Franck (December 10, 1822 – November 8, 1890), a composer, organist and music teacher of Belgian origin who lived in France, was one of the great figures in classical music in the second half of the 19th century. ... Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr (Peter) Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильич Чайкoвский, Pëtr Il’ič ÄŒajkovskij;  )[1] (7 May [O.S. 25 April] 1840 – 6 November [O.S. 25 October] 1893), was a Russian composer of the Romantic era. ... Nadezhda von Meck. ...


As the winner of the Prix de Rome, he received a scholarship by the Académie des Beaux-Arts, which included a four-year residence at the Villa Medici, the French Academy in Rome to further his studies (1885-1887). According to letters from this period, Debussy often was depressed and unable to compose, but he also met Franz Liszt, and finally composed four pieces, which were sent to the Academy; the symphonic ode Zuleima, after Heinrich Heine, the orchestral piece Printemps, and the cantata La damoiselle élue (1887-1888), which was criticized by the Academy as "bizarre" and in which some stylistic features of Debussy's later style emerged for the first time. The fourth piece was the Fantaisie for piano and orchestra, which was still indebted to César Franck's music and withdrawn by the composer himself. The Prix de Rome was a scholarship for art students. ... The Villa Medici is a villa in Rome, founded by Ferdinando I de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, housing the French Academy in Rome. ... The French Academy in Rome (French: Académie de France à Rome) is an Academy located in the Villa Medici, within the Villa Borghese, in Rome, Italy. ... Portrait by Henri Lehmann, 1839 Franz Liszt (Hungarian: Liszt Ferenc; pronounced , in English: list) (October 22, 1811 – July 31, 1886) was an ethnic German Hungarian [1] virtuoso pianist and composer of the Romantic period. ... Christian Johann Heinrich Heine (born Chaim Harry Heine, December 13, 1797 – February 17, 1856) was a journalist, an essayist, and one of the most significant German romantic poets. ... A cantata (Italian, sung) is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment and generally containing more than one movement. ...


With his visits to Bayreuth (1888, 1889) Debussy was exposed to Wagnerian opera, which was to have a lasting impact on his later work. Wagner's influence is evident in the La damoiselle élue and the Cinq poèmes de Baudelaire (1889) but other songs of the period, notably the settings of VerlaineAriettes oubliées, Trois mélodies, Fêtes galantes—all are in a more capricious style. The Bayreuth Festspielhaus (Bayreuth Festival Theatre) is an opera house built to the north of the town of Bayreuth in Germany, dedicated to the performance of Richard Wagners operas. ... Wilhelm Richard Wagner (May 22, 1813 – February 13, 1883) was a German composer, conductor, music theorist, and essayist, primarily known for his operas (or music dramas as he later came to call them). ... Charles Baudelaire Charles Pierre Baudelaire (April 9, 1821–August 31, 1867) was one of the most influential French poets. ... Paul Verlaine illustrated in the frontispiece of , 1902 Paul Marie Verlaine (March 30, 1844 – January 8, 1896) is considered one of the greatest and most popular of French poets. ...


Later, during 1889 the Exposition Universelle in Paris, Debussy heard Javanese gamelan music. Although direct citations of gamelan scales, melodies, rhythms, or ensemble textures have not been located in any of Debussy's own compositions, the equal-tempered pentatonic scale appears in his music of this time and afterward. Year 1889 (MDCCCLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... The Exposition Universelle of 1889 was a Worlds Fair held in Paris, France from May 5, to October 31, 1889. ... Java (Indonesian, Javanese, and Sundanese: Jawa) is an island of Indonesia, and the site of its capital city, Jakarta. ... Gamelan - Indonesian Embassy in Canberra A gamelan is a kind of musical ensemble of Indonesian origin typically featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums, and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings, and vocalists may also be included. ...


Early works

Debussy at the piano, behind him is the composer Ernest Chausson, 1893
Debussy at the piano, behind him is the composer Ernest Chausson, 1893

Beginning in the 1890s, Debussy developed his own musical language largely independent of Wagner's style and heavy emotionalism. In contrast to the enormous works of Wagner and other late-romantic composers, Debussy chose to write in smaller, more accessible forms. Debussy's String Quartet in G minor (1893) paved the way for his later, more daring harmonic exploration. In this work he utilised the Phrygian mode as well as less standard scales, such as the whole-tone, which creates a sense of floating, ethereal harmony. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1160x1186, 747 KB) Descrição Claude Debussy ao piano no verão de 1893, na casa de campo de Luzancy (do seu amigo Ernest Chausson) Fonte (imagem com mais de 70 anos) (scan de imagem do Livro Mestres da Música... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1160x1186, 747 KB) Descrição Claude Debussy ao piano no verão de 1893, na casa de campo de Luzancy (do seu amigo Ernest Chausson) Fonte (imagem com mais de 70 anos) (scan de imagem do Livro Mestres da Música... Ernest Chausson (January 20, 1855 – June 10, 1899) was a late-blooming French romantic composer who died in an accident just as his career was beginning to flourish. ... The resident string quartet of the Library of Congress in 1963 A string quartet is a musical ensemble of four string instruments—usually two violins, a viola and cello—or a piece written to be performed by such a group. ... Due to historical confusion, Phrygian mode can refer to two very different musical modes or diatonic scales. ... In music, a mode is an ordered series of musical intervals, which, along with the key or tonic, define the pitches. ... In music, a whole tone scale is a scale in which each note is separated from its neighbors by the interval of a whole step. ...


The Suite bergamasque (1890) recalls rococo decorousness with a modern cynicism and puzzlement. This suite contains one of Debussy's most popular pieces, Clair de Lune. The Suite Bergamasque (ber-gah-mask) is one of the most famous piano suites of Claude Debussy, and is widely regarded as the most fascinating. ... North side of the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo - carriage courtyard: all the stucco details sparkled with gold until 1773, when Catherine II had gilding replaced with olive drab paint. ... The Suite Bergamasque (ber-gah-mask) is one of the most famous piano suites of Claude Debussy, and is widely regarded as the most fascinating. ...


Influenced by the contemporary symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé, Debussy wrote one of his most famous works, the revolutionary Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune. In contrast to the large orchestras so favoured by late-romanticism, Debussy wrote this piece for a smaller ensemble, emphasizing instrumental colour and timbre. Despite Mallarmé himself, and colleague and friend Paul Dukas having been impressed by the piece, it was controversial at its premiere. Composer Camille Saint-Saëns thought it "pretty" but lacking any "style".[citation needed] Prélude subsequently placed Debussy into the spotlight as one of the leading composers of the era. Portrait of Stéphane Mallarmé by Édouard Manet. ... The Prélude à laprès-midi dun faune (or Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun) is a musical composition for orchestra by Claude Debussy that was first performed in 1894. ... Paul Dukas (October 1, 1865-May 17, 1935) was a Parisian-born French composer and teacher of classical music. ... Charles Camille Saint-Saëns () (9 October 1835 – 16 December 1921) was a French composer, organist, conductor, and pianist, known for his orchestral works The Carnival of the Animals, Danse Macabre, and Symphony No. ...


Middle works

The three Nocturnes (1899), include characteristic studies in veiled harmony and texture as demonstrated in Nuages; exuberance in Fêtes; and whole-tones Sirènes". La Mer (1903-1905) essays a more symphonic form, with a finale that works themes from the first movement, although the middle movement, Jeux de vagues, which proceeds much less directly and with more variety of colour. The three Images pour orchestre (1905-1911) are more loosely linked, and the largest, Ibéria, is itself a triptych medley of Spanish allusions and fleeting impressions. Nocturnes is an orchestral composition in three movements by the French composer Claude Debussy. ... La Mer is an orchestral composition by the French composer Claude Debussy. ... Images pour orchestre is an orchestral composition in three movements (one of which is itself a triptych) by Claude Debussy. ... The Raising of the Cross, Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal, Antwerp A triptych (from the Greek tri- three + ptychÄ“ fold) is a work of art (usually a panel painting) which is divided into three sections, or three carved panels which are hinged together. ...


In reaction to Wagner and his extremely elaborate late-romantic operas,[citation needed] Debussy wrote the symbolist opera Pelléas et Mélisande, which would be his only complete opera. Based on the play by Maurice Maeterlinck, the opera proved to be immensely influential to younger French composers, including Maurice Ravel. These works brought a fluidity of rhythm and colour quite new to Western music. Pelléas et Mélisande (Pelléas and Mélisande) is an opera in five acts by Claude Debussy to a French libretto by Maurice Maeterlinck that almost exactly follows his famous symbolist play Pelléas et Mélisande. ... Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck, Belgian author Count Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck (August 29, 1862 - May 6, 1949) was a Belgian poet, playwright, and essayist. ... Maurice Ravel in 1912. ...


During this period Debussy wrote much for the piano. The set of pieces entitled Pour le piano (1901) utilises rich harmonies and textures which would later prove important in jazz music. His first volume of Images pour piano (1904–1905) combine harmonic innovation with poetic suggestion: Reflets dans l'eau is a musical description of rippling water; Hommage à Rameau, the second piece, is a slow and yearningly nostalgic. It takes as its inspiration a melody of from Jean-Philippe Rameau's, Castor et Pollux. Jazz is a musical art form that originated in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States around the start of the 20th century. ... Jean-Philippe Rameau, by Jacques André Joseph Aved, 1728 Jean-Philippe Rameau (September 25, 1683 - September 12, 1764) was one of the most important French composers and music theorists of the Baroque era. ... Castor et Pollux (Castor and Pollux) is an opera by Jean-Philippe Rameau, first performed on 24 October 1737 at the Académie royale de musique in Paris. ...


The evocative Estampes for piano (1903) give impressions of exotic locations. Debussy came into contact with Javanese gamelan music during the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle. Pagodes is the directly inspired result, aiming for an evocation of the pentatonic structures employed by the Javanese music.[2] Debussy wrote his famous Children's Corner Suite (1909) for his beloved daughter, whom he nicknamed Chou-chou. The suite recalls classicism—the opening piece Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum refers to Muzio Clementi's collection of instructional piano compositions Gradus ad Parnassum, as well as a new wave of rag-time music. In the popular final piece of the suite, Golliwog's Cakewalk, Debussy also pokes fun at Richard Wagner by mimicking the opening bars of Wagner's prelude to Tristan and Isolde. Estampes, L.100 (Woodcuts) is an Impressionist piano solo by Claude Debussy. ... Java (Indonesian, Javanese, and Sundanese: Jawa) is an island of Indonesia and the site of its capital city, Jakarta. ... Gamelan - Indonesian Embassy in Canberra A gamelan is a kind of musical ensemble of Indonesian origin typically featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums, and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings, and vocalists may also be included. ... The Exposition Universelle of 1889 was a Worlds Fair held in Paris, France from May 5, to October 31, 1889. ... Childrens Corner is a suite for solo piano by Claude Debussy, completed in 1908. ... Muzio Clementi (January 24, 1752 – March 10, 1832) was a classical composer, and acknowledged as the first to write specifically for the piano. ... Gradus, or Gradus ad Parnassum (a step to Parnassus), is a Latin (or Greek) dictionary, in which the quantities of the vowels of the words are marked. ... Wilhelm Richard Wagner (May 22, 1813 – February 13, 1883) was a German composer, conductor, music theorist, and essayist, primarily known for his operas (or music dramas as he later came to call them). ... Tristan und Isolde (Tristan and Isolde) is an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner to a German libretto by the composer, based largely on the romance by Gottfried von Strassburg, which in turn was based on the story of Tristan and Iseult as told in French by Thomas of...


The first book of Preludes (1910), twelve in total, proved to be his most successful work for piano. The Preludes are frequently compared to those of Chopin. Debussy's preludes are replete with rich, unusual and daring harmonies. They include the popular La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair) and La Cathédrale Engloutie ("The Engulfed Cathedral"). Debussy wanted people to respond intuitively to these pieces and so he placed the titles at the end of each one in the hope that listeners would not make stereotype images as they listened. Claude Debussys Préludes are two sets of pieces for solo piano. ... The only known photograph of Frédéric Chopin, believed to have been taken by Louis-Auguste Bisson in 1849. ...


The music for Gabriele d'Annunzio's mystery play Le martyre de St. Sébastien (1911), a lush and dramatic work and written in only two months, is remarkable in sustaining a late antique modal atmosphere that otherwise was touched only in relatively short piano pieces. Gabriele dAnnunzio (12 March 1863, Pescara – 1 March 1938, Gardone Riviera, province of Brescia) was an Italian poet, writer, novelist, dramatist and daredevil, who went on to have a controversial role in politics as a precursor of the fascist movement. ... Late Antiquity is a rough periodization (c. ... In music, a mode is an ordered series of musical intervals, which, along with the key or tonic, define the pitches. ...


Late works

Debussy's harmonies and chord progressions frequently exploit dissonances without any formal resolution. Unlike in his earlier work, he no longer hides discords in lush harmonies. The forms are far more irregular and fragmented. The whole tone scale dominates much of Debussy's late music. This article is about musical harmony. ... Typical fingering for a second inversion C major chord on a guitar. ... In music, a consonance (Latin consonare, sounding together) is a harmony, chord, or interval considered stable, as opposed to a dissonance, which is considered unstable. ... In music, a whole tone scale (set form 6-35, 02468t) is a scale in which each note is separated from its neighbors by the interval of a whole step. ...


His two last volumes of works for the piano, the Études (1915) interprets similar varieties of style and texture purely as pianistic exercises and includes pieces that develop irregular form to an extreme as well as others influenced by the young Igor Stravinsky (a presence too in the suite En blanc et noir for two pianos, 1915). The rarefaction of these works is a feature of the last set of songs, the Trois poèmes de Mallarmé (1913), and of the Sonata for flute, viola and harp (1915), though the sonata and its companions also recapture the inquisitive Verlainian classicism. Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (Russian: Игорь Фёдорович Стравинский, Igor Fëdorovič Stravinskij) (June 17, 1882 – April 6, 1971) was a Russian composer, considered by many in both the West and his native land to be the most influential composer of 20th-century music. ... Sonata (From Latin and Italian sonare, to sound), in music, literally means a piece played as opposed to cantata (Latin cantare, to sing), a piece sung. ... The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. ... The viola (in French, alto; in German Bratsche) is a string instrument played with a bow. ... The harp is a stringed instrument which has the plane of its strings positioned perpendicular to the soundboard. ...


With the sonatas of 1915–1917, there is a sudden shift in the style. These works recall Debussy's earlier music, in part, but also look forward, with leaner, simpler structures. Despite the thinner textures of the violin sonata (1917) there remains an undeniable richness in the chords themselves. This shift parallels the movement commonly known as neo-classicism which was to become popular after Debussy's death. Debussy planned a set of six sonatas, but this plan was cut short by his death in 1918 so that he only completed three (cello, flute-viola-harp and violin sonatas). A violin sonata is a musical composition for solo violin, often (but not always) accompanied by a piano or other keyboard instrument, or by figured bass in the Baroque. ... Neoclassicism in music was a 20th century development, particularly popular in the period between the two World Wars, in which composers drew inspiration from music of the 18th century, though some of the inspiring canon was drawn as much from the Baroque period as the Classical period - for this reason...


The last orchestral work by Debussy, the ballet Jeux (1912) written for Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, contains some of his strangest harmonies and textures in a form that moves freely over its own field of motivic connection. At first Jeux was overshadowed by Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, composed in the same year as Jeux and premiered only two weeks later by the same ballet company. Decades later, composers such as Pierre Boulez and Jean Barraqué pointed out parallels to Anton Webern's serialism in this work. Other late stage works, including the ballets Khamma (1912) and La boîte à joujoux (1913) were left with the orchestration incomplete, and were later completed by Charles Koechlin and André Caplet, who also helped Debussy with the orchestration of Gigues (from Images pour orchestre) and Le martyre de St. Sébastien. Jeux (Games), described as a poème dansé (literally a danced poem), is the last work for orchestra written by Claude Debussy. ... Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev (Сергей Павлович Дягилев) (March 19, 1872 – August 19, 1929), often known as Serge, was a Russian ballet impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes from which many famous... Léon Bakst: Firebird, Ballerina, 1910 The Ballets Russes was a ballet company established in 1909 by the Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev and resident first in Théâtre Mogador, Paris; and then in Monte Carlo. ... Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (Russian: Игорь Фёдорович Стравинский, Igor Fëdorovič Stravinskij) (June 17, 1882 – April 6, 1971) was a Russian composer, considered by many in both the West and his native land to be the most influential composer of 20th-century music. ... The Rite of Spring, commonly referred to by its original French title, Le Sacre du printemps (Russian: Весна священная, Vesna svjaščennaja) is a ballet with music by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. ... Pierre Boulez Pierre Boulez (IPA: /pjɛʁ.buˈlÉ›z/) (born March 26, 1925) is a conductor and composer of classical music. ... Jean Barraqué (January 17, 1928 – August 17, 1973) was a French composer. ... Anton Webern (December 3, 1883 – September 15, 1945) was an Austrian composer and conductor. ... Serialism is a technique for composing music that uses sets to describe musical elements, and allows the composer manipulations of those sets to create music. ... 1912 (MCMXII) was a leap year starting on Monday in the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Tuesday in the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Charles Louis Eugène Koechlin (November 27, 1867-December 31, 1950) was a French composer and teacher. ... André Caplet (Le Havre, November 23, 1878 – April 22, 1925 in Neuilly-sur-Seine) was a French composer and conductor now known primarily through his orchestrations of works by Claude Debussy. ...


The second set of Preludes for piano (1913) features Debussy at his most avant-garde, sometimes utilising dissonant harmonies to evoke moods and images, especially in the mysterious Canope; the title refers to a burial urn which stood on Debussy's working desk and evokes a distant past. The pianist Claudio Arrau considered the piece to be one of Debussy's greatest preludes: "It's miraculous that he created, in so few notes, this kind of depth."[3] Claude Debussys Préludes are two sets of pieces for solo piano. ... A short grand piano, with the top up. ... A work similar to Marcel Duchamps Fountain Avant garde (written avant-garde) is a French phrase, one of many French phrases used by English speakers. ... Claudio Arrau Claudio Arrau León (February 6, 1903 – June 9, 1991) was a Chilean pianist of world fame for his deep interpretations of a huge, vast repertoire spanning from the baroque to 20th-century composers. ...


Private life

Debussy's private life was somewhat turbulent. He initially cohabited in Paris with Gabrielle Dupont for nine years before marrying her friend Rosalie Texier, a fashion model, in 1899. Ultimately dismayed by her intellectual limitations, he left Texier in 1904 for Emma Bardac, the mother of one of his students and wife of a wealthy Parisian banker. Texier, like Dupont before her, attempted suicide with a pistol. The scandal obliged Debussy and Bardac, already carrying his child, to flee to Folkestone until the hysteria subsided. The couple were married in 1908. The child, a daughter (and the composer's only child), was named Claude-Emma, more affectionately known as Chou-Chou, the dedicatee of Debussy's Children's Corner suite. Claude-Emma outlived her father by scarcely a year, dying in the diptheria epidemic of 1919. Photograph of the once famous model Dovima A model is a person who poses or displays for purposes of art, fashion, or other products and advertising. ... Year 1899 (MDCCCXCIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday [1] of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... 1904 (MCMIV) was a leap year starting on a Friday (see link for calendar). ... Emma Bardac (1862-1934) was the mutual love interest of both Gabriel Faure and Claude Debussy. ... Folkestone Harbour, picture taken from the golf court Folkestone (IPA: ) is a coastal resort town in the Shepway district of Kent, England. ... 1908 (MCMVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ...


Death

Debussy's grave at Cim. de Passy
Debussy's grave at Cim. de Passy

Claude Debussy died in Paris on March 25, 1918 from colorectal cancer, having already survived one of the earliest colostomy operations ever performed, in 1916. He died in the midst of the German aerial and artillery bombardment of Paris during the Spring Offensive of World War I. At this time, the military situation in France was desperate, and circumstances did not permit his being paid the honour of a public funeral or ceremonious graveside orations. The funeral procession made its way through deserted streets as shells from the German guns ripped into his beloved city. It was just eight months before France would celebrate victory. He was interred in the Cimetière de Passy, and French culture has ever since celebrated Debussy as one of its most distinguished representatives. Image File history File links Debussy's_grave. ... Image File history File links Debussy's_grave. ... March 25 is the 84th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (85th in leap years). ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... Colorectal cancer, also called colon cancer or bowel cancer, includes cancerous growths in the colon, rectum and appendix. ... The 1918 Spring Offensive or Kaiserschlacht was a series of German attacks along the Western Front during the First World War, which marked the deepest advance by either side since 1914. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... The Cimetière de Passy, with the Eiffel Tower in the background The Cimetière de Passy is a famous cemetery located at 2, rue du Commandant SchÅ“lsing in Passy, in the 16ème arrondissement of Paris. ...

Musical style

Rudolph Réti points out these features of Debussy's music, which "established a new concept of tonality in European music": Rudolph Réti (November 27, 1885 - February 7, 1957) was a musical analyst, composer and pianist. ...

  1. Glittering passages and webs of figurations which distract from occasional absence of tonality;
  2. Frequent use of parallel chords which are "in essence not harmonies at all, but rather 'chordal melodies', enriched unisons";
  3. Bitonality, or at least bitonal chords;
  4. Use of the whole-tone and pentatonic scale;
  5. Unprepared modulations, "without any harmonic bridge."

He concludes that Debussy's achievement was the synthesis of monophonic based "melodic tonality" with harmonies, albeit different from those of "harmonic tonality" (Reti, 1958). Parallel chords arise when the same intervallic relationship is maintained in adjacent chords moving in parallel motion. ... The use of more than two keys simultaneously is known in music as polytonality. ... A major second is one of three commonly occuring musical intervals that span two diatonic scale degrees; the others being the minor second, which is one semitone smaller, and the augmented second, which is one semitone larger. ... A pentatonic scale is a musical scale with five pitches per octave. ... In music, modulation is most commonly the act or process of changing from one key (tonic, or tonal center) to another. ...


The application of the term "impressionist" to Debussy and the music he influenced is a matter of intense debate within academic circles. One side argues that the term is a misnomer, an inappropriate label which Debussy himself opposed. In a letter of 1908, he wrote "I am trying to do 'something different'-in a way realities-what the imbeciles call 'impressionism' is a term which is as poorly used as possible, particularly by art critics." The opposing side argues that Debussy may have been reacting to unfavorable criticism at the time, and the negativity that critics associated with impressionism. It can be argued that he would have been pleased with application of the current definition of impressionism to his music.


Mathematical structuring

Given that Debussy's music is apparently so concerned with mood and colour, it is somewhat unexpected to discover that, according to one author, many of his greatest works appear to have been structured around mathematical models even while using an apparent classical structure such as sonata form. Howat (1983) suggests that some of Debussy's pieces can be divided into sections that reflect the golden ratio, frequently by using the numbers of the standard Fibonacci sequence. Sometimes these divisions seem to follow the standard divisions of the overall structure. In other pieces they appear to mark out other significant features of the music. The 55 bar-long introduction to 'Dialogue du vent et la mer' in La Mer, for example, breaks down into 5 sections of 21, 8, 8, 5 and 13 bars in length. The golden mean point of bar 34 in this structure is signalled by the introduction of the trombones, with the use of the main motif from all three movements used in the central section around that point (Howat, 1983). Sonata form is a musical form that has been used widely since the early Classical period. ... // Articles with similar titles include Golden mean (philosophy), the felicitous middle between two extremes, and Golden numbers, an indicator of years in astronomy and calendar studies. ... In mathematics, the Fibonacci numbers form a sequence defined recursively by: In words: you start with 0 and 1, and then produce the next Fibonacci number by adding the two previous Fibonacci numbers. ...


The only evidence that Howat introduces to support his claim appears in changes Debussy made between finished manuscripts and the printed edition, with the changes invariably creating a Golden Mean proportion where previously none existed. Perhaps the starkest example of this comes with La cathédrale engloutie. Published editions lack the instruction to play bars 7-12 and 22-83 at twice the speed of the remainder, exactly as Debussy himself did on a piano-roll recording. When analysed with this alteration, the piece follows Golden Section proportions. At the same time, Howat admits that in many of Debussy's works, he has been unable to find evidence of the Golden Section (notably in the late works) and that no extant manuscripts or sketches contain any evidence of calculations related to it.


Influence on later composers

Claude Debussy is widely regarded as one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. His harmonies, considered radical in his day, were influential to almost every major composer of the 20th century, especially the music of Igor Stravinsky, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez, Henri Dutilleux, and the minimalist music of Steve Reich and Philip Glass as well as the influential Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu. He also influenced many important figures in Jazz, most notably Duke Ellington, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Jimmy Giuffre and Bill Evans. Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (Russian: Игорь Фёдорович Стравинский, Igor Fëdorovič Stravinskij) (June 17, 1882 – April 6, 1971) was a Russian composer, considered by many in both the West and his native land to be the most influential composer of 20th-century music. ... Olivier Messiaen It has been suggested that List of students of Olivier Messiaen be merged into this article or section. ... Pierre Boulez Pierre Boulez (IPA: /pjɛʁ.buˈlÉ›z/) (born March 26, 1925) is a conductor and composer of classical music. ... Henri Dutilleux (born January 22, 1916 in Angers, France) is one of the most important French composers of the second half of the 20th century, producing work in the tradition of Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, and Albert Roussel, but in a style distinctly his own. ... Minimalist music is a genre of experimental or Downtown music named in the 1960s based mostly in consonant harmony, steady pulse (if not immobile drones), stasis and slow transformation, and often reiteration of musical phrases or smaller units such as figures, motifs, and cells. ... Stephen Michael Reich (born October 3, 1936) is an American composer. ... This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ... Tōru Takemitsu (武満 徹 Takemitsu Tōru, October 8, 1930 - February 20, 1996) was a Japanese composer of music, who explored the compositional principles of Western classical music and his native Japanese tradition both in isolation and in combination. ... Jazz is a musical art form that originated in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States around the start of the 20th century. ... Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899–May 24, 1974) was an American jazz composer, pianist, and band leader who has been one of the most influential figures in jazz, if not in all American music. ... Antônio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim (January 25, 1927 in Rio de Janeiro – December 8, 1994 in New York City), or Tom Jobim (as he is fondly known in his home country), was a Brazilian composer, arranger, singer, pianist/guitarist and one of the primary forces behind the creation... James Peter Giuffre (born in Dallas, Texas, 1921) is an American jazz saxophone and clarinet player. ... William John Evans, (better known as Bill Evans) (August 16, 1929 – September 15, 1980) was one of the most famous jazz pianists of the 20th century; he remains one of the major influences on post-1950s jazz piano. ...


Debussy in film and pop culture

Debussy's music has been used countless times in film and television.


It was first used legally in 1948 in the David O. Selznick film Portrait of Jennie in which various compositions ("Reverie," "Arabesque" the "Nocturnes" and "La fille aux cheveux de lin" inter alii) can be heard. His music has featured in numerous films, plays, and television programs ever since. The film director Ken Russell made a visually stunning film about Debussy for the famous BBC arts programme Monitor in the late 1960s. It featured a particularly evocative staging of Fetes (from Nocturnes) showing a crowd of revellers with torches coming out of the night onto a beach. Portrait of Jennie movie poster Portrait of Jennie is a 1948 fantasy film based on the novella by Robert Nathan. ... Henry Kenneth Alfred Russell, known as Ken Russell (born July 3, 1927), is a controversial English film director, particularly known for his films about famous composers. ...


Clair de lune is especially popular, having appeared in George Stevens's Giant (1956) when played on the organ in the mansion featured in the film, Casino Royale (1967), The Right Stuff (1983), Seven Years in Tibet (1997), Ocean's Eleven (2001), Man on Fire (2004) and Dog Soldiers (2002), to name a few. Terrance McNally's play, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, uses the work as remedy to a wounded relationship. The Suite Bergamasque (ber-gah-mask) is one of the most famous piano suites of Claude Debussy, and is widely regarded as the most fascinating. ... George Stevens examining film from A Place in the Sun. ... Giant is a 1956 film which tells the story of rival ranchers and oilmen in West Texas in the middle years of the 20th century. ... This article contains a trivia section. ... The Right Stuff is a 1979 book (ISBN 0374250332) by Tom Wolfe, and a 1983 film adapted from the book. ... Seven Years in Tibet is the 1997 film adaptation of the adventure story written by Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer based on his real life experiences in Tibet between 1944 and 1951 during the onset of the Second World War and the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army Invasion. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Man on Fire is a 2004 film directed by Tony Scott, starring Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Radha Mitchell, Giancarlo Giannini, and Christopher Walken. ... Dog Soldiers is a British horror film, written and directed by Neil Marshall and starring Kevin McKidd, Sean Pertwee and Liam Cunningham. ...


Arabesque No 1 has featured in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963) -- played by the Tippi Hedren character -- and in A Good Year (2006), and used as the theme to the TV programme Star Gazer. It is frequently referenced by characters in Shunji Iwai's film All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001). Rêverie was adapted by American bandleader Larry Clinton into a popular song, "My Reverie", which was recorded on several occasions in the late 1930s and '40s by musicians Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Mildred Bailey, and others. La Cathédrale Engloutie, of the 24 Preludes, takes an electronic rendition in John Carpenter's Escape from New York (1981) as underscore for a futuristic Manhattan. The Birds (1963) is a horror film by Alfred Hitchcock, loosely based on the short story The Birds (ISBN 0-582-41798-8) by Daphne du Maurier. ... Nathalie Tippi Hedren (born January 19, 1930)[1] is an American actress with a career spanning six decades. ... A Good Year is a 2006 romantic comedy film set in Provence, a region in southeastern France. ... Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer is a 5 minute astronomy show on public television hosted by Jack Horkheimer which began its run in 1976. ... Shunji Iwai (岩井俊二 Iwai Shunji, born January 24, 1963 in Sendai, Japan, Miyagi prefecture). ... All About Lily Chou-Chou ) is a 2001 Japanese film written and directed by Shunji Iwai. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Harry Lillis Bing Crosby (May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977) was an American singer and actor whose career lasted from 1926 until his death in 1977. ... Ella Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996), also known as Lady Ella and the First Lady of Song, is considered one of the most influential jazz vocalists of the 20th Century. ... Mildred Bailey (February 27, 1907 – December 12, 1951) was a popular American singer during the 1930s. ... John Howard Carpenter (born January 16, 1948) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, film score composer and occasional actor. ... John Carpenters Escape from New York is a 1981 science fiction/action film directed and scored by John Carpenter. ...


The Seduction of Claude Debussy (1999) by the Art of Noise is a concept album depicting the life and works of Debussy. Featuring narration from the actor John Hurt and guest vocal performances from Rakim and Donna Lewis, this ambitious concept album blends excerpts of Debussy's music with a diverse range of 20th century musical influences such as drum and bass, opera, hip-hop and jazz. The Seduction of Claude Debussy is an ambitious 1999 concept album by the Art of Noise, featuring a lineup of Trevor Horn, Anne Dudley, Paul Morley, and Lol Creme. ... Art of Noise Close Up twelve inch single featured the iconic Art of Noise mask Art of Noise was an avantgarde synthpop group formed in 1983 by producer Trevor Horn, music journalist Paul Morley, and session musicians/studio hands Anne Dudley, J.J. Jeczalik, and Gary Langan. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... John Hurt as Chancellor Adam Sutler in V for Vendetta. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Donna Lewis (born August 6, 1973, in Cardiff) is a Welsh singer-songwriter and record producer best known for the 1996 single I Love You Always Forever. I Love You Always Forever was hugely successful on U.S. radio, staying at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 for nine... Drum and bass (commonly abbreviated to d&b, DnB, dnb, drum n bass and drum & bass) is a type of electronic dance music also known as jungle. ... The Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. ... Hip hop (also spelled hip-hop or hiphop) is both a music genre and a cultural movement developed in urban communities starting in the 1970s, predominantly by African Americans. ... Jazz is a musical art form that originated in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States around the start of the 20th century. ...


The Pet Shop Boys produced a song called "Left to My Own Devices" in which Neil Tennant sings, "Che Guevara and Debussy to a disco beat." In the late 1980s, when the duo toured Great Britain, a dancer dressed as Debussy when this song was performed. The capitalization of song titles in this article may be disputed. ... Neil Tennant (right) with collaborator Chris Lowe (left) Neil Francis Tennant (born July 10, 1954 in North Shields, Tyne and Wear, England) is an English musician, who, with his colleague Chris Lowe, makes up the successful pop duo, Pet Shop Boys. ... Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (June 14,[1] 1928 – October 9, 1967), commonly known as Che Guevara or El Che, was an Argentine-born Marxist revolutionary, medical doctor, political figure, and leader of Cuban and internationalist guerrillas. ...


List of works

This is a list of compositions by Claude Debussy, organized by the catalogue created by musicologist François Lesure in 1977, since Debussy did not use opus numbers. ... This is a list of compositions by Claude Debussy, organized by the catalogue created by musicologist François Lesure in 1977, since Debussy did not use opus numbers, except for the String Quartet for which Debussy used Opus 10. ...

Media

  • Mazurka ( file info) — play in browser (beta)
  • Problems playing the files? See media help.

Debussy - Mazurka. ... Software development stages In computer programming, development stage terminology expresses how the development of a piece of software has progressed and how much further development it may require. ... The mazurka (Polish: mazurek, probably named after Polands Masuria district) is a Polish folk dance in triple metre with a lively tempo, containing a heavy accent on the third or second beat. ...

References

  1. ^ Archangel Fashion Cat (.ed). "Claude Debussy - the Composer", BBC h2g2, 23 Jan 2002. Retrieved on 2007-04-20. 
  2. ^ Brent Hugh. Claude Debussy and the Javanese Gamelan. brenthugh.com. Retrieved on 2007-01-27.
  3. ^ Steve Bryson (16 Nov 2003). Canope (Preludes, Book II, 1913). Steve's Debussy Page. Retrieved on 2007-04-19.
  • Barraqué, Jean (1977). Debussy (Solfèges). Paris: Editions du Seuil. ISBN 2020002426. 
  • Howat, Roy (1983). Debussy in Proportion: A musical analysis. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521311454. 
  • Reti, Rudolph (1958). Tonality, Atonality, Pantonality. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0313204780. 

2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... April 20 is the 110th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (111th in leap years). ... 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... January 27 is the 27th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... April 19 is the 109th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (110th in leap years). ...

Further reading

  • Fulcher, Jane (ed.) (2001). Debussy and His World (The Bard Music Festival). Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691090424. 
  • Trezise, Simon (ed.) (2003). The Cambridge Companion to Debussy. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521654785. 

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Claude Debussy
Persondata
NAME Debussy, Claude
ALTERNATIVE NAMES Debussy, Achille-Claude
SHORT DESCRIPTION Composer
DATE OF BIRTH August 22, 1862
PLACE OF BIRTH St. Germain-en-Laye, France
DATE OF DEATH March 25, 1918
PLACE OF DEATH Paris, France

  Results from FactBites:
 
Claude Debussy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2799 words)
Debussy was not only one of the most important French composers but was also one of the most important figures in music at the turn of the last century; his music represents the transition from late-romantic music to 20th century modernist music.
Claude Debussy died in Paris on March 25, 1918 from rectal cancer, during the bombardment of Paris by airships and long-distance guns during the last German offensive of World War I.
Claude Debussy is widely regarded as one of the most influential composers of the 20th century.
CLASSICAL MUSIC ARCHIVES: Debussy Biography (1527 words)
Debussy was described by his associates as a difficult and reserved man, with an independence that bordered on disdain for convention.
Debussy's last works were three sonatas that were to be part of a cycle of six, and perhaps a new reconciliation with classical forms.
Debussy referred to himself as a "musicien francais" and he is certainly one of the greatest of all French composers.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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