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Debussy, Claude

Claude Debussy was a 20th-century French composer who was regarded as one of the most influential personalities in the world of impressionist music. Claude Debussy was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, on August 22, 1862. In one of Debussy's early works in 1880, Tchaikovsky said, "It is a rather nice item, but it is far too small. There isn't a single perfectly articulated concept, and the form is shriveled and disjointed.” Debussy did not finish the first work to fully assert his freedom of thinking until 1894, when he was 32 years old: Prelude a l'Apres-midi d'un Faune, a particularly imaginative piece influenced by a poem by Stephane Mallarmé. Debussy started significant research on his opera Pelleas et Melisande (completed in 1902) and the three orchestral Nocturnes after his first successes (completed in 1899). In 1903, Debussy started a new artistic process with La Mer, which he finished whilst in Eastbourne, where he found that "the sea acts with British politeness." Debussy became a star after the long-awaited premiere of Pelleas et Melisande in 1902. He then started a romantic affair with Emma Bardac, Gabriel Faure's former mistress, during which his wife tried but failed to shoot herself.

Debussy was diagnosed with cancer in 1914, just when he was reaching the pinnacle of his powers. He was so disabled after an operation that he didn't write anything for about a year. He performed one more masterwork, the Violin Sonata, until his death on March 25th, 1918 in Paris. Debussy's apparent ability for the piano earned him a position in the Paris Conservatoire's junior department when he was just ten years old, in 1872.


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