Author , Composer , Writer , Performer : Claude Debussy
Song Best Love Rating:
La Damoiselle Elue
Song Composition Date:
Claude Debussy was born on August 22, 1862 in St. Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, France. His father was a salesman and kept a china shop. His mother was a seamstress. Some traumatizing events in his childhood caused him a depression and he never spoke about his early years. Later he could not compose without having his favourite porcelain frog. Debussy's piano teacher, Mme. Maute, had been a student of Frédéric Chopin. She sent Debussy to the Paris Conservatory, where he studied from 1872-84 with 'Cesar Franck' , Ernest Guiraud and others. He lived at the castle of Nadezhda von Meck and taught her children. She was a wealthy patroness of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and eventually Debussy played all pieces by Tchaikovsky in addition to other classical repertoire. She also took Debussy on trips to Venice, Vienna, and Moscow. In Vienna he heard 'Tristan und Isolde' by Richard Wagner and admitted his influence for a number of years. Debussy won Prix de Rome twice in 1883 and in 1884, which covered his studies at the Villa de Medici in Rome for the next four years. In Rome Debussy met Franz Liszt, Giuseppe Verdi, and heard music of Richard Wagner, which made a strong impression on Debussy. In 1888 and 1889 he went to listen to more music of Richard Wagner at the Bayreith Festspiehaus. There he was very impressed by 'Parsifal' and other works by Richard Wagner. He used the Wagnerian chromaticism for upgrades to his own tonal harmony in 'Cinq poems de Baudelaire' (1889). Debussy became influenced by the impressionist poets and artists in the circle of 'Stephane Mallarme' . In 1890 he wrote his most famous music collection for piano the 'Suite bergamasque', containing 'Clair de Lune'. His 'Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun' (1892) continued the most productive 20-year period in his life. He composed orchestral 'Nocturnes', 'La Mer', 'Images' (1899-1909), and the intricate ballet 'Jeux' (1912) for "Ballets Russes" of Sergei Diaghilev. He was fascinated with Maeterlinck's play 'Pelleas et Melisande', which inspired him to compose the eponymous symbolist opera which was praised by Paul Dukas and Maurice Ravel. In 1908 Claud Debussy married singer Emma Bardac after they had a daughter, Claude-Emma. Debussy called her Chou-Chou and composed for her the collection of piano pieces 'Children's Corner Suite' (1909). His piano masterpiece 'Preludes' were composed in 1910-1913. The twelve preludes of the first book are alluding to Frédéric Chopin, with more provocative harmonies, especially the 'La Cathedrale Engloutie'. In the second book of twelve preludes Debussy explored avant-garde, with deliciously dissonant harmonies and mysterious images. The beginning of WWI and the onset of cancer depressed Debussy. He left unfinished opera, ballets and two pieces after stories by Edgar Allan Poe, that later were completed by his assistants. He died on March 25, 1918, in Paris.