One of Debussy’s quotes that really caught my attention said, “Music is the space between the notes. ” –Claude Debussy. I thought of music in a different way after reading this quote, when I heard the word music I always thought of a person singing or lyrics to a song. There is a lot more to music than that and I have learned that from researching Debussy and being in this class has helped me also. Claude Debussy is one of the most famous composers of the late 19th and 20th century. He was involved in French music, especially in the impressionist side in music.
He was at very highly looked up person then and he still is now, he was also one of the greatest musical composers ever to live. Debussy was born on August 22, 1862 in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. Debussy was the oldest of five kids. He was not born into a wealthy family. The Franco-Prussian war was going on when Debussy was five, so by not wanting to get hurt by that his family moved to a place called Cannes. Debussy showed an early affection for the piano. So when he was at the age of seven he started taking lessons from an Italian Violinist.
When Debussy turned ten his piano skills improved so much that he was granted admission to the legendary Paris Conservatoire. He was taught by some of the bests such as Ernest Guiraud, Emile Durand, Albert Lavignac, Antoine Francois Marmontel, and Cesar Franck. Fellow students and teachers saw his talent but also thought his attempts at musical innovation was strange. In 1880 Debussy was hired by Nadezhda von Meck to teach her children to play the piano. Debussy got to travel to a few places with her and her kids.
They traveled to Europe, where Debussy got acquired to cultural and musical experiences in Russia. The biggest advantage of Debussy traveling to Russia with them is he got exposure to Russian composers who influenced his musical work. In 1884 when Debussy was just 22 years old, he entered his cantata L’Enfant prodigue in the Prix de Rome. The Prix de Rome is a competition for arts students. He ended up taking home the top prize. Sources say that was one of his greatest achievements. After winning the award, Debussy got to do some more studying at some very special places.
One person in particular he studied was German composer Richard Wagner, he studied him and his music. One of Wagners pieces really influenced Debussy, and it was called Tristan und Isolde. Wagners. Even though Wagner influenced Debussy he didn’t do the same type of work as Wagner. Also while studying Debussy wrote four pieces of music for Academie des Beaux-Arts in response to the Prix de Rome, they are known as; Zuleima, Printemps, Fanataisie, and La demoiselle elue. In 1887 Debussy went to Paris. Two years after arriving in Paris he attended the Paris World Exposition.
Why he was there he heard a musical ensemble called Javenese gamelan, it is a musical ensemble composed of a variety of bells, gongs, metallophones and xylophones, sometimes vocals were included. In 1890 Debussy wrote the Suite Berqamasque, it included one of Debussy’s most popular pieces called the Claire de Lune. The suite was held up to baroque customs in the beginning, but in the third movement it started to develop its own twist starting from the third movement, the Claire de Lune. Debussy was really known for being one of the first to master the incorporation of the chromatic scales in the Phrygian modes.
It’s shown in his 1893 String Quartet in G Minor. Later on in 1894 Debussy wrote not only one of his favorite but famous operas, it’s called Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune, in English it is pronounced “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun”. Debussy was already a well known person, but in 1895 he completed Pelleas et Melisande, and when it was first performed in 1902 it was a huge sensation. There was one downfall to the piece, either the people who heard it either loved it or hated it. The recognition gained with this piece was paired with the success of Prelude in 1892, which was one of his most famous and attention grabbing pieces.
For the next 10 years in Debussy’s life he was the one of the most inspiring figures in French music. Later on in life he wrote La Mer in 1905. It was a very special piece, it was not necessarily loved or received at first but as time went on it became one of Debussy’s most well known pieces. Then in 1908 he wrote Iberia, which was a large scale orchestral compostition. The Iberia and La Mer were both wrote for a orchestra. He also wrote Images in 1905, and Children’s Corner Suite in 1908. Both of those pieces were for a solo piano.
Debussy spent his final years and his older life writing as a critic, while he also composed and still performed his own musical pieces all around the world. Debussy also taught many kids in his carreer, some of his students became very well known and even some became famous composers. Debussy died of cancer on March 25, in 1918 in the town of Paris, France. He was just 55 years old. Claude Debussy is a very popular studied person I believe. He has had lots of achievements, won some very big awards, and made some very special pieces of music.
He has also been through a lot, gone through a lot of schooling, and has studied lots of other artist, took lessons and wrote a few pieces like they did. So studying these people helped him and he made sure that people knew that. That is one of the reasons I believe people look up to him still today. This man has had a huge impact on the French music history; he helped in changing music in a good way, and inspiring and taught many young composers or musical people to be great composers. He is not only one of the most famous French composers, but one of the most inspiring and famous composers in this world still today.