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Claude Debussy. Janel Herde. Biography. Biography. Born August 22, 1862 in St. Germain en Laye , France. Oldest of 5 children. Family owned china shop. Closed and the family relocated to Clichy, France. Claude’s grandmother takes them in. First piano lesson – 7 years old.

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claude debussy

Claude Debussy

Janel Herde

biography1
Biography
  • Born August 22, 1862 in St. Germain en Laye, France.
  • Oldest of 5 children.
  • Family owned china shop.
    • Closed and the family relocated to Clichy, France.
  • Claude’s grandmother takes them in.
slide4

First piano lesson – 7 years old.

    • Teacher – Jean Cerutti (Jean)
  • 1871 AntionetteMaute as piano teacher.
  • Paris Conservatory School of Fine Arts – Age 10
  • 1876 – First appearance at a public concert.
    • Accompanied Leontine Mendes (Singer)
  • 1879 – Leans the attractions of a life of luxury – stays with Marguerite Wilson-Pelouze.
    • Decides to become a composer.
slide5

1880 – Hired by Nadezhda Von Meck

    • Teaches her children to play piano
  • 1884 – Enters “The Prodigal Son”
    • Won the Prix de Rome
influences
Influences
  • Not influenced by Russian composer
  • Richard Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde.
  • Javanese Gamelan
    • First saw at Paris World Exposition 1889
    • Brass percussion, strings, bamboo flutes
slide7

Opera – Pelleas et Melisande

    • Based on play by Marice Maeterlinck
    • Only finished opera
  • Controversy around first performance
    • Music was either hated or loved
  • His music was impressionist
  • Rejected traditional rules
  • Pieces were dissonant
  • Lacked tonal quality
later years
Later Years
  • Changes in style
  • Not readily accepted
  • Other composers weakened popularity
  • Composed music until death
  • Diagnosed – rectal cancer 1915
    • Unsuccessful surgery to cure cancer
  • Passed away March 25, 1918
  • 3 unfinished pieces for “Six Pieces for Various Instruments”
history
History
  • Written in 1892, completed in October 1894
  • Symphonic poem for orchestra
  • First performance
    • Paris – December 1894
    • Concerts of the Society Nationale de Musique
    • Conductor – GustaveDoret
slide11

Inspired by poem “L”après-midi d’un faune” by StephaneMallarme

    • Also basis for ballet “Afternoon of a Faun”
    • Choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky
  • One of best known compositions
  • Performed again the next day
    • Society’s doors were opened to the public for the first time.
  • First performance – conductor and Debussy made changes up until the start
slide12

Orchestration

    • 3 flutes
    • 2 oboes
    • 2 clarinets
    • 4 horns
    • 2 harps
    • 2 violins
    • Violas
    • Chellos
    • Contrabasses
slide13

One of Debussy’s most famous works

  • Turning point in music
  • Flutes and soft must added new depth
listening guide
Listening Guide
  • Section A
    • 0:00 Part A – flute solo, harps glissando, horns extend theme
    • 0:45 Part A – horns and harp repeat. Horns background, harp is more prominent
    • 1:06 Part A – Flute reappears, oboes take melody at times
    • 1:31 Part B – Horns return, flute and oboe resume these, crescendos, theme repeated. Harps glissando
    • 2:46 Part C – Flutes continue theme, clarinet extends the theme, flutes at the end of theme
slide15

Section B

    • 3:16 Part D – Oboe leads new theme. Strings – plucking methods – which accompany clarinet. Violins take over the melody
    • 3:44 Part D – French horns return. Clarinet plays melody. Similar to first theme
    • 4:01 Part E – oboe returns with melody. Quicker and shorter notes. Strings added – screscendo take melody
    • 4:19 Part E – Dynamics soften – violins play togther. Chang tempo and rhythm. Crescendo with climax and diminishes
    • 4:48 Part E – Soften with horns flutes and oboes. Crescendos and decrescendos. Twinkling sound.
slide16

Section B

    • 5;50 Part A Flute has main melody, accompaniment of harp. Obo plast staccato notes
    • 6:23 Part A Horns accmpany with crisp melody. Theme reiterates Theme A
    • 6:55 Part A Flutes play melody, violini pianissimo. Flute, cello take melody. Harp in backgorund. Oboe Brings melody. Flute and harp fade to a close.
history1
History
  • Third movement in Suite begamasque
  • Famous piano suite, with four movements
    • Prelude, Menuet, Clair de Lune, Passepied
  • Composed in 1890
  • When it came time to publish, Debussy hated the style.
  • Major modification
  • Revised version published in 1905
inspiration
Inspiration
  • Poem “Clair de Lune” by Paul Verlaine
  • All four movements written from works of Paul Verlaine.
  • Written for piano solo
  • First performance
    • Debussy performed it himself firs time ever performed.
listening guide1
Listening Guide
  • Section A
    • 0:00 Opens in D flat. Pianissimo. Warm sound. Chords and scales – both hands. Expressive, andante
    • 1:00 Dissonant low notes. More chords than scales. Repeated with minor changes.
    • 1:39 Dissonance resolved with arpeggio.
slide21

Section B

    • 1:49 More movement. Arpeggios. Pianissimo. Crescendos and decrescendos throughout piece. Melody – right hand.
    • 2:25 Key changes, melody move up an octave.
    • 2:35 Melody back down in lower octaves
slide22

Section A’

    • 3:04 Melody from beginning restated
    • 3:38 Coda, arpeggios from second section. Contour same as theme A
    • 4:19 Arpeggios brought together. End slowly with diminuendo.
bibliography
Bibliography
  • Claude Debussy. 2007. June 2011 <http://www.debussy.fr/cdfr/bio/bio5_03-09.php>.
  • Dumesnil, Maurice. "Claude-Achille, Young Musician." Claude Debussy, Master of Dreams. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1979. 181.
  • Mandel, Marc. Claude Debussy “Prélude à l’Après-midi d’un faune”. n.d. June 2011 <http://www.bso.org/images/program_notes/debussy_prelude_faun.pdf>.
  • Nichols, Roger. "The Life of Debussy." New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
  • Notable Biographies. n.d. June 2011 <http://www.notablebiographies.com/De-Du/Debussy-Claude.html>.
  • Vallas, Leon. "Claude Debussy - His Life and Works." Lightning Source Inc., 2007.