Claude Debussy

Clair de lune

            While others, notably Franz Liszt, were on the forefront of stylistic change during the nineteenth century, it is surely Claude Debussy who forever established entirely new ways of thinking about the fundamental ways of defining and composing music in Western culture.   More than anyone, he truly was the father of much of the philosophical basis for the complete turnover in musical art that defined the twentieth century.  And, along the way, he composed some of the most original, creative, and dare we say, beautiful music in the repertoire.  His name, of course, is indelibly linked with what is popularly called “musical impressionism,” but that doesn’t really specifically tell you much.  What you may say is that he largely worked within a musical style that made little use o

La mer, L. 109

            While others, notably Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner, were on the forefront of stylistic change during the nineteenth century, it is surely Claude Debussy who forever established entirely new approaches to thinking about the fundamental ways of defining and composing music in Western culture.   More than anyone, he truly was the father of much of the philosophical basis for the complete turnover in musical art that defined the twentieth century.  And, along the way, he composed some of the most original, creative, and dare we say, beautiful music in the repertoire.  His name, of course, is indelibly linked with what is popularly called “musical impressionism,” but that doesn’t really specifically tell you much.  What you may say is that he largely worked within a musical sty

Nocturnes

            The three movements of Debussy’s Nocturnes for orchestra  were composed during 1897-99.  Their early reception was not wholly enthusiastic, by any means, and they continued to receive mixed reviews for most of the next decade.  It took quite a while before they gained their position as a respected part of the standard orchestral repertoire.   He had composed earlier works for orchestra as a developing composer, but of them, only his Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (published in 1895) is widely familiar to concert audiences, today. 

Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

            While others, notably Franz Liszt, were on the forefront of stylistic change during the nineteenth century, it is surely Claude Debussy who forever established entirely new ways of thinking about the fundamental ways of defining and composing music in Western culture.   More than anyone, he truly was the father of much of the philosophical basis for the complete turnover in musical art that defined the twentieth century.  And, along the way, he composed some of the most original, creative, and dare we say, beautiful music in the repertoire.  His name, of course, is indelibly linked with what is popularly called “musical impressionism,”—a term he deplored--but that doesn’t really specifically tell you much.  What you may say is that he largely worked within a musical style th