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DEBUSSY, Claude (1862-1918)

Debussy, who came from a modest background, received a fairly rudimentary early education. His musical studies began around 1870, under Jean Cerutti, then Antoinette Mauté. It didn’t take long for them to realise his ability, and he was enrolled in the Paris Conservatoire in 1872. Debussy took classes by Marmontel (piano), Durand (harmony) and Guiraud (composition) with varying degrees of satisfaction, before being awarded the Premier Prix de Rome in 1884. Three years later, he was regularly frequenting salons and Symbolist circles. It was then that he discovered Bayreuth, Javanese gamelans, Mussorgsky and Maeterlinck, and developed his own distinctive style, based on a formal and technical freedom, the primacy of the senses over the rules (rejecting all gratuitous academicism) and a consummate mastery of composition and orchestration. Gradually, the reputation he gained from works like the Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (1891-1894) or the Nocturnes for orchestra (1897-1899), made him a leading light in the avant-garde, a position which was consolidated, in 1902, by the premiere of his opera Pelléas et Mélisande. A key figure in the history of modern music, Debussy composed some 150 works for virtually every combination of instruments. His major scores include the Suite bergamasque, the Préludes and Images for piano, La Mer, Jeux and the Images for orchestra, as well as various pieces of chamber music (including a quartet and three sonatas) and vocal music (Proses lyriques, Chansons de Bilitis).

    Images - 41
  • Claude Debussy
  • Claude Debussy
  • Claude Debussy
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  • Claude Debussy en 1909 devant la porte de son studio
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    Works - 51
  • Ariettes oubliées (Verlaine / Debussy)
  • Boîte à joujoux, La (Claude Debussy)
  • Children’s Corner (Claude Debussy)
  • Cinq Poèmes de Charles Baudelaire (Claude Debussy)
  • Danse sacrée et Danse profane (Claude Debussy)
  • Deux Arabesques (Claude Debussy)
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    Themes - 4
  • The French mélodie with orchestra
  • Genre – La mélodie française
  • Piano – Fin-de-siècle Romantic Piano Music
  • Prix de Rome – Concours de composition musicale
  • Symposia - 1
  • The Performance of Opera from the late 19th Century to the early 20th Century: From Libretto to Staging (2011)
  • Studies - 5
  • Herlin, Denis – Debussy et le prix de Rome
  • Herlin, Denis – Une nouvelle jeunesse pour L’Enfant prodigue
  • Huebner, Steven – Les cantates de Debussy à l’heure des bouleversements esthétiques « fin de siècle »
  • Lechleiter, France – Entre ombre et lumière : la pension romaine de Debussy (1885-1887)
  • Panighini, Stefania – Jouer Mélisande du Théâtre de l'Œuvre à l'Opéra Comique
  • Press articles -  9
  • L’Art musical, 21 juin 1883 [prix de Rome]
  • L’Art musical, 28 juin 1883 [prix de Rome]
  • Le Ménestrel, 1er juillet 1883 [prix de Rome]
  • Le Ménestrel, 24 juin 1883 [prix de Rome]
  • L’Art musical, 31 octobre 1884 [séance publique de l’Institut]
  • Le Ménestrel, 26 octobre 1884 [séance publique de l’Institut]
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    Documents - 2
  • Debussy, Claude – Lettres sur son séjour italien (1885-1887)
  • Rapports de l’Académie des beaux-arts sur les envois de Rome de musique (1812-1910)