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Claude Debussy

(Achille) Claude Debussy (French: [aʃil klod dəbysi]; 22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918) was a French composer. He is sometimes seen as the first Impressionist composer, although he vigorously rejected the term. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Born to a family of modest means and little cultural involvement, Debussy showed enough musical talent to be admitted at the age of ten to France's leading music college, the Conservatoire de Paris. He originally studied the piano, but found his vocation in innovative composition, despite the disapproval of the Conservatoire's conservative professors. He took many years to develop his mature style, and was nearly 40 when he achieved international fame in 1902 with the only opera he completed, Pelléas et Mélisande.

Debussy's orchestral works include Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (1894), Nocturnes (1897–1899) and Images (1905–1912). His music was to a considerable extent a reaction against Wagner and the German musical tradition. He regarded the classical symphony as obsolete and sought an alternative in his "symphonic sketches", La mer (1903–1905). His piano works include two books of Préludes and two of Études. Throughout his career he wrote mélodies based on a wide variety of poetry, including his own. He was greatly influenced by the Symbolist poetic movement of the later 19th century. A small number of works, including the early La Damoiselle élue and the late Le Martyre de saint Sébastien have important parts for chorus. In his final years, he focused on chamber music, completing three of six planned sonatas for different combinations of instruments.

With early influences including Russian and far-eastern music, Debussy developed his own style of harmony and orchestral colouring, derided – and unsuccessfully resisted – by much of the musical establishment of the day. His works have strongly influenced a wide range of composers including Béla Bartók, Olivier Messiaen, George Benjamin, and the jazz pianist and composer Bill Evans. Debussy died from cancer at his home in Paris at the age of 55 after a composing career of a little more than 30 years.

Birth and Death Data: Born August 22nd, 1862 (Saint-Germain-en-Laye), Died March 25th, 1918 (Paris)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1909 - 1941

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer, orchestrator

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 231 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor C-6697 12-in. 1/1/1909 En sourdine Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano composer  
Victor C-9013 12-in. 5/25/1910 Golliwog's cakewalk Maud Powell Violin solo, with piano composer  
Victor C-9701 12-in. 12/9/1910 Air de Lia Jeanne Gerville Contralto vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-10653 10-in. 6/28/1911 En bateau Charles Gilbert Spross Piano solo composer  
Victor B-11151 10-in. 10/30/1911 Romance Frances Alda Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-11738 10-in. 3/15/1912 First arabesque Ada Sassoli Harp solo composer  
Victor C-13899 12-in. 10/2/1913 Romance Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano composer  
Victor B-17881 10-in. 6/16/1916 First arabesque Julius L. Schendel Piano solo composer  
Victor B-19528 10-in. 3/28/1917 Nuit d'etoiles Julia Culp Contralto vocal solo, with piano composer  
Victor B-20144 10-in. 6/20/1917 Romance Eva Gauthier Mezzo-soprano vocal solo, with piano composer  
Victor C-20184 12-in. 6/28/1917 L'année en vain chasse l'année Eva Gauthier Mezzo-soprano vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor CVE-21057 12-in. 3/10/1927 Afternoon of a faun Philadelphia Orchestra ; Leopold Stokowski Orchestra composer  
Victor C-21057 12-in. 11/6/1917 Afternoon of a faun : Prélude Philadelphia Orchestra ; Leopold Stokowski Orchestra composer  
Victor C-21058 12-in. 11/6/1917 Afternoon of a faun : Prélude Philadelphia Orchestra ; Leopold Stokowski Orchestra composer  
Victor CVE-21058 12-in. 3/10/1927 Afternoon of a faun Philadelphia Orchestra ; Leopold Stokowski Orchestra composer  
Victor B-21059 10-in. 11/6/1917 Afternoon of a faun : Prélude Philadelphia Orchestra ; Leopold Stokowski Orchestra composer  
Victor B-22508 10-in. 1/8/1919 La fille aux cheveux de lin (The maiden with flaxen hair) Alfred Cortot Piano solo composer  
Victor B-22649 10-in. 3/21/1919 Beau soir Giuseppe De Luca Tenor vocal solo, with piano and orchestra composer  
Victor B-24193 10-in. 7/2/1920 Golliwogg's cake-walk Sergei Rachmaninoff Piano solo composer  
Victor B-24902 10-in. 1/21/1921 Berceuse Sergei Rachmaninoff Piano solo composer  
Victor B-24906 10-in. 1/21/1921 Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum Sergei Rachmaninoff Piano solo composer  
Victor B-27324 10-in. 12/18/1922 The bells Lambert Murphy Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-27349 10-in. 12/27/1922 Golliwog's cake-walk Alfred Cortot Piano solo composer  
Victor B-27350 10-in. 12/27/1922 Serenade of a doll Alfred Cortot Piano solo composer  
Victor C-27380 12-in. 1/11/1923 Danse Olga Samaroff Stokowski Piano solo composer  
(Results 1-25 of 231 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Debussy, Claude," accessed August 5, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102597.

Debussy, Claude. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved August 5, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102597.

"Debussy, Claude." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 5 August 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102597

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