Claude Debussy

Topics: Claude Debussy, Richard Wagner, Impressionism Pages: 3 (1185 words) Published: April 25, 2010
Claude Debussy
In a quote from June 1885 Debussy wrote of his desire to follow his own way. “ I am sure the Institut would not approve, for, naturally regards the path which it ordains as the only right one. But there is no help for it! I am too enamored of my freedom, too fond of my own ideas.”. From the start of his music studies, though clearly talented, Debussy was also argumentative and experimental, and he challenged the rigid teaching of the academy, favoring techniques that at the time were frowned upon. Though his harmonies were often considered radical in his own time, Debussy is now widely regarded as one of the most influential composers of the twentieth century.

Claude Debussy was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on August twenty second, 1862 and was the eldest of five children. His father Manuel-Achille Debussy owned a china shop and was a salesman and his mother Victorine Manoury Debussy was a seamstress. When Debussy was four years old he began taking piano lessons with an elderly Italian named Cerutti; his lessons were paid for by his aunt. In 1871 at the age of nine Debussy gained the attention of Marie Maute de Fleurville, who claimed to have been a pupil of Frederic Chopin. Debussy always believed her claim, although there is no evidence that she was. At the age of ten the talented Debussy entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he stayed for eleven years; studying with some of the most significant figures of the era. Debussy was a brilliant pianist and an outstanding sight reader. He was also a rebel and would often alarm his professors by sitting at the piano playing chords that broke every textbook rule. He was just beginning to search for his own musical language, and he surely found it.

From 1880 to 1882 Debussy lived in Russia as music teacher to the children of Russian Socialite Madame Nadezhda von Meck, the patroness of Tchaikovsky. In 1880 she sent Debussy’s Danse bohemienne to Tchaikovsky. A month later he wrote back to her,...
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