Skip to comments.Debussy at 150: The Impressions Still Deceive
Posted on 08/22/2012 9:38:00 AM PDT by EveningStar
CLASSICAL music institutions are usually quick to seize on major anniversaries of a composers birth or death as a convenient programming hook. Get ready for the Wagner and Verdi bicentennial celebrations next year.
But what happened to Debussy, born 150 years ago on Wednesday in St.-Germain-en-Laye, west of Paris? His anniversary has drawn surprisingly little notice, at least from major New York institutions. Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic and Lincoln Center have scheduled no special events or festivals.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I would not rank Debussey as one of the great composers. He definitely wrote some nice stuff but cannot compare with the truly great: Bach, Mozart, Handel, Beethoven, Haydn etc.
Claire de Lune is a little gem. La Mer is good and his piano music has lots of good stuff in it. But, with the exception of Daphnis and Chloe, his major works are not played that often and I would venture to say that even lovers of classical music have never heard a lot of his bigger pieces.
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Debussy is one of the most influential composers of all time. He could be said to have kicked off 20th century music (in the 1890s). His influence extends to Jazz and Pop as well.
I enjoy Debussy, especially his piano works (I always smile at “Golliwogg’s Cakewalk”). However, I’ve always preferred Ravel. As one critic had remarked, “Debussy shimmers, Ravel glitters.”
Or as Miles said, "Don't play what's there; play what's not there."
Loved it. Wore it out. Still have it.
His goal was the sound of a ‘piano without hammers’.
I adore Debussy, even if I don’t program or perform him often.
Except for “Suite Bergamasque” which gets put on at least one recital program every year. This suite for solo piano includes the iconic “Claire de Lune.
He wrote so fluidly for the piano and was a master orchestrator he only wrote one work for both together, and its not a traditional concerto, but rather a Fantasie for Piano and Orchestra. I played that last in 2004. Its terrific.
Thanks, I’ll check it out.
She plays Philip Glass's Metamorphosis 5, beautifully!! This melody was played on Battlestar Galatica, of all places, where I first heard it. I fell in love with it.
When you look at the piano from above it IS a harp laid on its side. I never realized that until looking down on the stage at Orchestra Hall one evening.
Wonder why D never wrote any piano concertos (at least any part of the common repertoire) or symphonies.
That could very well be but his works are rather few compared to the Big Guys. And they are not as well known to the ordinary music lover as others.
I love Charles Ives but few have heard his music either.
D’s piano music is unsurpassed as seduction music.
Found this review online.
More's the pity. I enjoy his symphonies, even his student first. The third movement of his fourth is an absolutely beautiful fugue.
He was probably the greatest composer of his generation just as they were of their’s.
I don’t think it’s a huge deal that Debussy didn’t write symphonies or concertos, because he did write 4 ballets, numerous orchestral works, numerous compositions for voice and orchestra (such as “Printemps”), for instrument (such as clarinet, piano, harp) and orchestra, numerous solo piano works, chamber music (such as “Danses sacrée et profane”), piano works for 4 hands or 2 pianos, works for voice and piano, and works for a cappella voice. Maybe he just didn’t like the symphonic and concerto forms and prefered more non-structured forms.
If you are referring basically to the last half of the 19th century-early 20th for that to be true you would have to throw out Puccini. I also prefer Richard Strauss but I’m drawn to bombast. I got to see Ein Heldenleiben this season by the CSO at Orchestra Hall. The sound of that orchestra is the closest one can get to Heaven and still be mortal.
Assuming your statement is true my point is that the former were the greatest of all generations. At least as classical music is concerned.
The Fourth is one of my favorite pieces of music. I hope I can hold out long enough to get to see it performed at Orchestra Hall.
It seemed as though one was not considered a major composer until he had created a symphony, a concerto or an opera. Although D did compose an opera, I believe.
I would put Debussy above Puccini without any problem...the latter is more of a populist composer ala Rachmaninov than a innovator ala Debussy and Mahler.
It is those “populists” who sell tickets. I am not a huge opera lover but I have to say Puccini had a hell of a lot of good tunes. I would also think Mahler is more highly considered than Debussy. Not by me.
I would Debussy and Mahler are pretty much equally regarded at this point. Mahler is performed more because he wrote more readily performable orchestral repertoire.