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Claude Debussy

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by markjazzbassist, Aug 27, 2007.


  1. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    Claude is definately my favorite composer from the Impressionism era. My favorite works are Preludes Book 1, Suite Bergamasque, Reverie, and Arabesque No.1. The moods and feelings that I feel when I listen to his music are so wonderful and relaxing. He takes you from the highest of highs, to low and soft places. Just beautiful.

    Please share your thoughts, feelings, and favorite works.
     
  2. Suite Bergamasque is great. I often listen to Clair de Lune right before I go to sleep.
     
  3. I spent all last semester analyzing some his Piano pieces.

    Let me just say, *** damn you Debussy. So amazing. So complicated. So...awe inspiring. Funny thing about Debussy, despite being from the Impressionist era, he never wanted his music to be associated with such a title. Poor guy. Once again, the music is simply amazing, and becomes even more so when you sit down and read the sheet music while listening to the pieces. You pick up on a lot of his little "hidden jokes"(if you happen to turn into a Music Theory geek like myself).
     
  4. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    Of all the big name impressionist composers Debussy's music speaks to me the least. I think I just don't "get" it as I do understand what I should be listening for and it's there... so I guess my ears just have to catch up. I'm playing a program of French music this fall in my orchestra: Franck, Debussy, Ravel and perhaps some Berlioz, and the Debussy piece (Prélude à l'Aprés-Midi d'un Faune) is the one I'm least looking forward to.

    I'm going to hop on this thread and start listening to your favourites to see if I can get into it :)
     
  5. Now you've inspired me to find the sheet music for the pieces we analyzed. Thanks a lot. :smug: :D
     
  6. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    Check out http://imslp.org/ to see if they have the score. I've found it a good source, though some things are not present either due to lack of popularity or current copyrights.
     
  7. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    Cool man. Hopefully you can find something you like and it's okay if you don't.

    That's cool that you get to play Ravel and Berlioz, I really dig them too.
     
  8. I love that site. :D

    The problem is not so much the score itself, but the name of it. :meh: Curse not understanding more then 3 languages!
     
  9. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    Debussy's one of my all-time favorites. I'm inspired by his piano music--especially the Preludes ("Ondine" and "Feux D'Artifice") and Etudes (If there exists a more beautiful piece of music than #11, "Pour Les Arpeges Composes", please let me know!) The orchestral "Nocturnes" foreshadow a great deal of music that followed in the 20th century.

    I like that he provided a genuine alternative to the overblown melodramatic crap Wagner et al were cranking out by the end of the 19th century. Debussy wrote fairly compact pieces that packed a lot of ideas and emotion into a relative short time frame. IMO he was the last great classical composer to be unafraid of unabashed beauty. Mark Prendergast (in his wonderful book, "The Ambient Century") rightly places Debussy as the progenitor of ambient music in the West.

    If anyone cares to discuss Debussy over PM or email, feel free.
     
  10. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    Very interesting thoughts, and I tend to agree that Debussy was great at all the things mentioned - but I also think this explains why I prefer many of his contemporaries - I like overblown, I like melodramatic! I guess I'm just a bass-head, but there's a reason there aren't any Debussy excerpts asked on auditions. The hardest stuff for bass tends to be the most fun to play, and that just happens to be heavy, overblown melodramatic music like Wagner, R. Strauss, Mahler, Shostakovitch, etc. I prefer that kind of late 19th century/neo-romantic style, but I'm trying to broaden my listening.

    Getting back to Debussy, how about his String Quartet? It's very much one of the most groundbreaking pieces in that literature, enough so that Ravel copied it almost shamelessly. I guess it's my favourite Debussy piece for sure, especially the second movement (Assez vif et bien rythme)
     
  11. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    Hey Jeff--That's great. I like a lot of the German romantic stuff-it's just that by the time of Wagner I feel like composers/artistes operated under the assumption that the only true art was the Gesamtkunstwerk ("complete artwork") that had to combine music, art, and theater in the most dramatic way possible. For me, Debussy stripped all that back and really focused on the "sound of music" as an artform worthy of the composer's complete attention.

    Part of the reason Debussy may not be so appealing to technically-oriented muso types is because there needs to be space in his music to fully appreciate the tone colors. Especially in the solo piano works, proper pedaling and touch give rise to harmonics and combination tones that lend an ethereal, harplike quality to the instrument.

    I think I have a recording of the string quartet, I'll have to check it out when I get home.
     

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