Born: 1862, St. Germain-en-Laye, France
Died: 1918, Paris, France
“Music is the arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light.”
Many call Debussy a musical impressionist, and his works certainly share an atmosphere with paintings by artists such as Monet. Debussy didn’t like the designation, arguing that music “can represent all the variations of color and light in one go,” whereas painting was limited to capturing just one moment. His innovative style, which moved away from the heavy, Wagner-influenced sound of his predecessors, had a profound impact on subsequent composers. He was a master of orchestration, and his works are filled with shimmering colors and subtle harmonies.
Further listening:Images pour orchestre (1905-1912)Cleveland Orchestra, Pierre Boulez (DG)
Préludes, Books I and II (1910, 1913)Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, piano (DG)