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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.


Claude debussy

  • 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.


Claude debussy

  • 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


Claude debussy

  • 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”


Pr lude l apr s midi d un faune prelude to the afternoon of a faun
Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun)


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


Claude debussy

  • 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


Claude debussy

  • Orchestration

    • 3 flutes

    • 2 oboes

    • 2 clarinets

    • 4 horns

    • 2 harps

    • 2 violins

    • Violas

    • Chellos

    • Contrabasses


Claude debussy


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


Claude debussy

  • 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.


Claude debussy

  • 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.


Claude debussy

  • 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


Claude debussy

  • 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.