User Tools

Site Tools


Claude Debussy


Debussy was born on August 22, 1862, at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris. He was the fifth kid in a family of five.1)


Debussy began piano lessons when he was seven years old. His family wasn't particularly musical: his father had a china business and his mother worked as a seamstress.2)

Paris Conservatoire

Debussy began his studies at the Paris Conservatoire when he was ten years old. He studied composition with high-flying French artists like as Émile Durand and César Franck for the following eleven years, but after failing to win the premier prix for piano, he gave up his aim of becoming a virtuoso.3)


Debussy traveled with Nadezhda von Meck, Tchaikovsky's rich patroness. Tchaikovsky wasn't convinced by Debussy's Danse bohémienne, which she submitted to him in 1880. “It is a really charming work, but it is far too short,” he wrote. “Not a single notion is fully realized, the shape is shriveled, and there is a lack of cohesiveness”.4)

Prix De Rome

With his piece L'enfant prodigue, Debussy received the Prix de Rome for composition. This meant he was awarded a scholarship at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in the Villa Medici (pictured) and was required to live there for four years, from 1885 to 1887.5)

Suite Bergamasque

One of Debussy's most well-known piano suites is the Suite bergamasque. He began writing it in 1890, but it was not published until 1905.6)

Clair De Lune

Debussy's Suite bergamasque consists of four movements, the most beautiful of which is his Clair de lune, which comes after the Prélude and Menuet and before the 'Passepied'. The soothing melody is based on a poem by Paul Verlaine, a French poet.7)

Prélude A l’Après-Midi D’un Faune

Debussy's symphonic poem for orchestra, based on a poem by Stéphane Mallarmé, was first performed in 1894. In the midday heat, it portrays the dreams of a faun, a mythological half-human, half-goat creature.8)

Debussy's Parisian Critics

Some of Debussy's work, such as Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, was so harmonically odd at the time that it failed to enchant reviewers. “The faun must have had a miserable afternoon!” sneered one critic after the debut.9)


The three movements of Debussy's Nocturnes, Nuages (Clouds), Fêtes (Festivals), and Sirènes (Sirens), were inspired by James Abbott McNeill Whistler's impressionist paintings. In December 1899, he completed the project.10)

Pelléas et Mélisande

Debussy's lone opera, Pelléas et Mélisande, is regarded as a landmark in twentieth-century music. In April 1902, the five-act love drama opened at the Opéra-Comique in Paris.11)


Debussy's music may be soothing, but his personal life was far from tranquil. He had many high-profile relationships, called off an engagement, and divorced Rosalie Texier in favor of Emma Bardac (pictured). After stirring controversy in France, the couple was compelled to leave to England in 1905.12)

La Mer

After Debussy provoked scandal by leaving his wife, La mer was not warmly received, but it has now become one of his most popular compositions. In 1905, he completed this orchestral work in Eastbourne.13)


Although Debussy's music has been labeled as “impressionist,” he was not a lover of the term. “I'm attempting to do'something new,' as the imbeciles call it…what the imbeciles call 'impressionism,' a phrase that is as misunderstood as possible, particularly by reviewers,” he remarked.14)

Children's Corner

Despite its title, Children's Corner is not a children's piece. It was composed for the composer's three-year-old daughter, Claude-Emma, in 1911, and was meant to recall childhood toys and recollections.15)

claude_debussy.txt · Last modified: 2022/01/27 02:17 by eziothekilla34