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Claude Debussy (1862-1918)

When talking about French composers that have significant influence in the history and development of classical music, Claude Debussy is one of them. He focused on impressionist music and his creations were very influential during […]

When talking about French composers that have significant influence in the history and development of classical music, Claude Debussy is one of them. He focused on impressionist music and his creations were very influential during the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century. His distinctive signature lay on the appealing combination of sensuality and modernism within mature composition that made his music known for its real beauty. For music critics, his creations lacked of technical innovation, but the real beauty can really covered up the flaws, making Debussy one of the leading forefathers for Impressionism. For many follower composers, Debussy has successfully set up unique paradigm and tonal structure in his piece.

Claude Debussy was born on the 22nd of August 1862 and passed away on the 25th of March 1918. Together with his ‘musical partner’ Maurice Ravel, Debussy had successfully transformed the classical music into the modern ones, especially for the Western music. Because of his good work and achievement, in 1903 he was appointed Legion of Honour Chevalier taken place in France. Most people would say that his music is truly the reflection of his life story: full of turbulence, dramatized by ups and downs. Such field of music is known as the symbolism in French literary world and symbolism really affected Debussy greatly in his musicality as well as his personal life.

Claude Debussy’s Early Life

Born to parents Victorine Manoury Debussy and Manuel-Achille Debussy, Claude Debussy was born in a place called Saint-Germain-en-Laye. His father had a shop selling crockery and china, while his mother worked as a streamstress. Thy moved to Paris round 1867, but when the Franco-Prussian war happened, Debussy’s mother took refuge in Cannes in 1870. Debussy had his piano lesson when he was 7 years old. His teacher was a violist called Cerutti. Soon, Debussy’s talent started to surface and his interested in music has grown bigger. He soon had joined the Paris Conservatoire by the age of ten and spent about 11 years of his time there. Although he was talented, he was known to be an experimental and argumentative individual. He was brave enough to challenge the teaching methods of the Academy, which he thought was very rigid.

Debussy’s life itself is full of many ups and downs. Claude Debussy was known to have relationships with lots of female friends. When he was still eighteen years old, he had an affair with a Parisian lawyer’s wife, Blanche Vasnier. He also had relationships with Gabriel Dupont while at the same time he was having an affair with Therese Roger. When he was finally married to Rosalie Texier, his adventure didn’t stop. He engaged in an affair with Emma Bardac, resulting in Rosalie’s attempt to kill herself, although the attempt failed. He and Bardac then had a daughter, named Claude-Emma born on the 30th of October 1905.

Debussy died on March the 25th 1918 because of a rectal cancer. Too bad his death happened during the Spring Offensive by German army during the World War I. Claude Debussy was finally buried at the Passy Cemetery. His life may be full of turbulence, but his great remains known until today.

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