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(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.

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Discography

Album

YearTitleArtistRatingReleases
1947La damoiselle élue / Piano Concerto for the Left HandDebussy, Ravel; The Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, Bidu Sayão, Rosalind Nadell, Robert Casadesus1
1949Franck: Sonata in A major / Debussy: Sonata no. 3Franck, Debussy; Zino Francescatti, Robert Casadesus1
1953Douze etudes pour le pianoClaude Debussy; Monique Haas1
1953Ravel: Quartet in F major / Debussy: Quartet in G minor, op. 10Ravel, Debussy; Budapest String Quartet1
1954La Mer / IberiaClaude Debussy; Orchestre du Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, D. E. Inghelbrecht1
1955Debussy: Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp / Syrinx for Unaccompanied Flute / Roussel: Trio for Flute, Viola and Cello, op. 40Debussy, Roussel; Julius Baker, Laura Newell, Lillian Fuchs, Harry Fuchs1
1955Debussy: The Blessed Damozel / Berlioz: Summer NightsClaude Debussy, Hector Berlioz; Victoria de los Ángeles, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Charles Munch1
1955Quatuor en sol mineur, op. 10 / Sonate pour violoncelle et pianoDebussy; Quatuor Pascal, Raya Garbousova, Arthur Balsam2
1956Ravel: La valse, Boléro, Mother Goose Suite / Debussy: Nocturnes: Nuages, fêtesRavel, Debussy; Ferrante and Teicher1
1957Le quatuor à cordes / Sonate pour flûte, alto et harpe / Sonate pour violoncelle et pianoClaude Debussy1
1957Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night’s Dream / Debussy: Afternoon of a FaunMendelssohn, Debussy; Viennese Symphonic Orchestra, Kurt Woess1
1957The SeaDebussy, Ibert; Boston Symphony Orchestra, Charles Munch2
1958Debussy: La Mer / Prelude à l’apres-midi d’un faune / Ravel: Rapsodie espagnoleDebussy, Ravel; L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Ernest Ansermet1
1958Ravel: Quartet in F major / Debussy: Quartet in G minor, op. 10Ravel, Debussy; The Budapest String Quartet2
1959La Mer / NocturnesDebussy; Orchestra of the Cento Soli, Choir of the Paris Opera, Louis Fourestier1
1959Mihalovici: Ricercari, op. 46 / Debussy: Tocata / Roussel: Trois pièces pour piano, op. 49 / Bartók: SonatineDebussy, Roussel, Bartók, Mihalovici; Monique Haas1
1960Debussy: La mer / Tänze für Harfe / Roussel: Bacchus et ArianeClaude Debussy, Albert Roussel; Suzanne Cotelle, Orchester Lamoureux, Paris, Igor Markevitch1
1960Debussy: Quartet / Ravel: QuartetDebussy, Ravel; Juilliard String Quartet1
1961Images I / Children’s Corner / Suite bergamasque / DanseDebussy; Jörg Demus1
1961Debussy: Images / Stravinsky: Symphonies of Wind Instruments / Ravel: Pavane pour une infante défunteDebussy, Stravinsky, Ravel; Ansermet, L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande1
1961Images / Estampes / D’un cahier d’esquisses / Berceuse heroiqueDebussy; Daniel Ericourt1
1961Préludes, livre 1 / EstampesClaude Debussy; Henriette Fauré2
196212 Etudes: Books I and II, CompleteDebussy; Charles Rosen1
1963Préludes, Vol. 1Claude Debussy; Monique Haas2
1963Préludes, Vol. 2Claude Debussy; Monique Haas3
1963String QuartetsDebussy, Ravel; Vlach Quartet1
1964Ravel: String Quartet in F major / Debussy: String Quartet in G major, op. 10Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy; Stuyvesant String Quartet1
1965Debussy: Iberia / De Falla: Le TricorneClaude Debussy, Manuel De Falla; Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Jean Fournet1
1965La Mer / Daphnis et Chloé, Suite no. 2 / La ValseDebussy, Ravel; Sir John Barbirolli, Hallé Orchestra1
1966Debussy: String Quartet in G minor, op. 10 / Ravel: String Quartet in F majorDebussy, Ravel; Quartetto Italiano7
1966Franck: Sonata / Debussy: SonataFranck, Debussy; Erick Friedman, André Previn1
1966La Mer / Afternoon of a Faun / Daphnis and Chloe Suite no. 2Debussy, Ravel; New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein1
1966Modest Mussorgsky: Bilder einer Ausstellung / Claude Debussy: La Cathédrale engloutieMussorgsky, Debussy; New Philharmonia Orchestra London, Leopold Stokowski1
1966Schumann: Kinderszenen / Debussy: Children’s CornerR. Schumann, C. Debussy; Jurica Murai1
19673 Sonatas / SyrinxDebussy; Arthur Grumiaux, Maurice Gendron, Roger Bourdin3
1967DebussyDebussy; Ivan Moravec1
1967KlavirChopin, Liszt, Debussy, Papandopulo; Pavica Gvozdić1
1967La Mer / NocturnesClaude Debussy; Czech Philharmonic Chorus, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Jean Fournet1
1967Piano Music of DebussyDebussy; Charles Rosen1
1967Song RecitalSchumann, Wolf, Debussy, Poulenc; Régine Crespin, John Wustman1
1967StreichquartetteClaude Debussy, Maurice Ravel; Dänisches Streichquartett1
1967Werke für Harfe und OrchesterRavel, Debussy, Händel, Albrechtsberger; Nicanor Zabaleta, Orchestre de Chambre Paul Kuentz, Paul Kuentz1
1968Violin Sonatas by 20th Century ComposersProkofiev, Debussy, Milhaud; Ion Voicou, Monique Haas1
1968Debussy: Six Épigraphes antiques / Milhaud: Scaramouche / Ravel: Mother Goose SuiteClaude Debussy, Darius Milhaud, Maurice Ravel; Walter Klien, Beatriz Klien1
1968Debussy: Streichquartett G-moll / Ravel: Streichquartett F-durDebussy, Ravel; Drolc-Quartett1
1968IberiaDebussy, Albeniz; The French National Radio Orchestra, Charles Munch1
1969Debussy: Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune / Strawinski: Le sacre du printempsClaude Debussy, Igor Strawinski; Staatskapelle Dresden, Otmar Suitner1
1969La Mer / NocturnesDebussy; Orchestre de Paris, Sir John Barbirolli1
1969La Mer / Nocturnes / Clair de Lune / March ÉcossaiseDebussy; L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Ernest Ansermet1
1969La Mer / Nocturnes / Prélude á l’apres-midi d’un faunClaude Debussy; Charles Munch, French National Radio Orchestra, French National Radio Chorus1
1969Piano WorksDebussy; Nikita Magaloff2
1969Préludes vols. 1 & 2Debussy; Friedrich Gulda2
1969Weissenberg Plays DebussyDebussy; Alexis Weissenberg2
1970Delius: Piano Concerto in C minor / Debussy: Fantaisie for Piano & OrchestraDelius, Debussy; Jean-Rodolphe Kars, London Symphony Orchestra, Alexander Gibson1
1970Debussy: Quartet in G minor / Ravel: Quartet in F majorDebussy, Ravel; The Parrenin Quartet1
1970Pelléas et MélisandeClaude Debussy; George Shirley, Elisabeth Soederström, Donald McIntyre, David Ward, Yvonne Minton, Dennis Wicks, Anthony Britten, The Royal Opera Chorus, Douglas Robinson, The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Pierre Boulez2
1970Suite bergamasque / Danse / Deux arabesques / Pour le piano / La plus que lente / L’Isle joyeuse / MasquesDebussy; Tamás Vásáry4
1971Images I/II / Children’s CornerClaude Debussy; Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli2
1971La Mer / Trois NocturnesDebussy; Concertgebouw Orchestra, Eliahu Inbal2
1971The ImpressionistsSatie, Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Honegger; London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bernard Herrmann1
1971The PreludesDebussy; Jean-Rodolphe Kars1
1972Songs of DebussyClaude Debussy; Anna Moffo, Jean Casadesus51
1972Daniel Adni Plays DebussyClaude Debussy; Daniel Adni1
1972La boite à Joujoux / Children’s Corner / Hommage à Haydn / Berceuse héroïque / La plus que lenteClaude Debussy; Noël Lee1
1972La Mer / Fêtes / IberiaDebussy; L’Orchestre des concerts Colonne, Pierre Dervaux1
1972Le martyre de Saint-Sebastien / Deux rhapsodies pour clarinette, pour saxophoneClaude Debussy; Orchestre philharmonique de l’office de radiodiffusion television Française, Marius Constant, Guy Deplus, Daniel Deffayet1
1972MélodiesClaude Debussy, Bernard Kruysen, Noël Lee1
1972My Favorite DebussyDebussy; Van Cliburn2
1972Pour le piano / Estampes / ImagesClaude Debussy; Noël Lee1
1972StreichquartetteDebussy, Ravel; LaSalle-Quartett1
1972Suite beramasque / Nocturne / Ballade / Arabesques / Danse / Danse bohémienne / Mazurka / Valse romantique / Rêverie / Petit nègreClaude Debussy; Noël Lee1
1972С. Франк / К. Дебюсси / М. РавельС. Франк, К. Дебюсси, М. Равель; Екатерина Новицкая1
1973Debussy: Sonata no. 2 for Flute, Viola and Harp / Dances for Harp and Orchestra / Ravel: Introduction and Allegro for HarpClaude Debussy, Maurice Ravel; Susanna Mildonian1
1973Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra / Rhapsody for Clarinet and Orchestra / Rhapsody for Saxophone and OrchestraClaude Debussy; Marylène Dosse, Serge Dangain, Jean-Marie Londeix, Orchestra of Radio Luxembourg, Louis de Froment1
1973Images / Deux arabesques / L’Isle joyeuseClaude Debussy; Bernard Ringeissen1
1973Martinu / Debussy / HoneggerMartinu, Debussy, Honegger; Bruno Kern, Susanne Kern1
1973PrelúdiosClaude Debussy; Magda Tagliaferro1
1973Suite bergamasqueClaude Debussy; Claude Helffer2
1974Afternoon of a Faun / Nocturnes / IberiaDebussy; Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Jean Fournet1
1974Debussy: Sláčikové kvarteto g-mol, op. 10 / Ravel: Sláčikové kvarteto F-durClaude Debussy, Maurice Ravel; Slovenské kvarteto1
1974French Piano MusicDebussy, Satie, Saint-Saëns, Chabrier; Cécile Ousset1
1974Martinů / Ceremuga / Stravinskij / DebussyMartinů, Ceremuga, Stravinskij, Debussy; Jaroslav Motlík1
1974Prélude a l’après-midi dún faune / Printemps / Petite suite / Danse / SarabandeClaude Debussy; Schwedisches Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester, Gary Bertini1
1974QuartetsDebussy, Ravel; Guarneri Quartet1
1974Ravel: Gaspard de la nuit / Debussy: Three Preludes & La plus qua lenteRavel, Debussy; Joaquín Achúcarro1
197512 Études (Complete)Debussy; Anthony di Bonaventura1
1975Preludes, Book 1Debussy; Lívia Rév2
1976String QuartetsRavel, Debussy; The Orford Quartet1
1977Debussy: Petite suite / Satie: Gymnopédies nos. 1 & 3 / Gnossienne no. 3 / Roussel: Sinfonietta / Poulenc: Deux marches et un intermèdeDebussy, Satie, Roussel, Poulenc, English Chamber Orchestra; Aviva Einhorn1
1977Petite SuiteClaude Debussy; Lily Laskine, Orchestre Jean‐François Paillard, Jean‐François Paillard3
1977Preludes, Book 2Debussy; Lívia Rév1
1977Printemps / Le Martyre de Saint SébastienClaude Debussy; Orchestre de Paris, Daniel Barenboim2
1978Debussy: Ibéria / Petite suite / Chabrier: España / Ravel: Daphins et Chloé suite no. 1Debussy, Chabrier, Ravel; György Lehel, Budapest Symphony Orchestra1
1978Friedrich Gulda spielt ImpressionistenRavel, Debussy; Friedrich Gulda3
1978Klaviermusik zu vier HändenRavel, Debussy; Alfons & Aloys Kontarsky2
1978Préludes, Volume 1Claude Debussy; Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli3
1978Quatuors à cordesDebussy, Ravel; Le Quatuor Bernède1
1978Sunken CathedralClaude Debussy, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Vincent Persichetti, Chip Davis; Jackson Berkey1
1978Yolanda Marcoulescou Sings Debussy & RavelDebussy, Ravel; Yolanda Marcoulescou1
1979Images (1894) / Estampes / Images Series I & IIClaude Debussy; Paul Jacobs2

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