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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

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2007 Debussy: Trio en sol majeur / La damoiselle élue / Boulanger: D'un soir triste / D'un matin de printemps Claude Debussy, Lili Boulanger; Trio George Sand 1
2007 Early Recordings by the Composer: The Condon Collection: Rare Recordings Claude Debussy 2
2007 Images inédites / Estampes / Pour le piano / Six épigraphes antiques / Le Petit Nègre... Claude Debussy; Alain Planès 1
2007 Myndir á þili Jón Nordal, Schubert, Chopin, Brahms, Debussy; Bryndís Halla Gylfadóttir, Steinunn Birna Ragnarsdóttir 1
2007 Piano Music, Volume II: Estampes / Children's Corner / Suite Bergamasque Debussy; Pascal Rogé 1
2007 Preludeja I ja II kirjasta Debussy; Timo Mikkilä 1
2008 Images Debussy; Simon Trpčeski 1
2008 Piano Music, Volume 4 Claude Debussy; Noriko Ogawa 1
2008 Debussy: La mer / Dutilleux: L'Arbre des songes / Ravel: La valse Debussy, Dutilleux, Ravel; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mariss Jansons, Dmitry Sitkovetsky 1
2008 Nuit d’Etoiles: Harp Music by Claude Debussy Claude Debussy; Xavier de Maistre 1
2008 Complete Works for Piano, Volume 3 Claude Debussy; Jean-Efflam Bavouzet 1
2008 Orchestral Works 1: La Mer / Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune Debussy; Orchestre National de Lyon, Jun Märkl 1
2008 Debussy: Prélude à lʼaprès-midi dʼun faune / Jeux / Roussel: Bacchus et Ariane, Suite no. 2 / Satie: Parade Debussy, Roussel, Satie 1
2008 Les grands interprètes: Pierre Monteux Schubert, Debussy; Pierre Monteux 1
2008 Debussy: String Quartet no. 1 in G minor, op. 10 / Ravel: String Quartet in F major Debussy, Ravel; St. Petersburg String Quartet 2
2008 String Quartets Ravel, Debussy, Fauré; Quatuor Ébène 2
2008 Debussy / Poulenc Claude Debussy, Francis Poulenc; Jean‐Guihen Queyras, Alexandre Tharaud 1
2008 Air (Music for harp, flute and strings) Debussy, Takemitsu; Yolanda Kondonassis, Joshua Smith, Cynthia Phelps, Oberlin 21 & Bridget Michaele Reischl 2
2008 Complete Works for Piano, Volume 4 Claude Debussy; Jean-Efflam Bavouzet 1
2008 Orchestral Works 2: Nocturnes / Clair de lune / Pelléas et Mélisande Symphonie Debussy; Orchestre National de Lyon, Jun Märkl 1
2008 La Mer / Images / Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune Debussy; Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Leonard Bernstein 1
2008 Œuvres pour deux pianos & pour piano à quatre mains Claude Debussy; Claude Helffer, Haakon Austbö 1
2008 Piano Music, Volume III: Images / Pour le Piano / L'isle joyeuse Debussy; Pascal Rogé 5 1
2008 Préludes, Books 1 & 2 Claude Debussy; Roger Woodward 1
2008 Sonatas for Cello and Piano Claude Debussy, Benjamin Britten, Nicolas Bacri; Marie Hallynck, Cédric Tiberghien 1
2009 Debussy Debussy; Nelson Freire 1
2009 Images / Printemps / Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune Debussy; Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France, Mikko Franck 1
2009 Music for Two Pianos Debussy, Ravel; Vladimir Ashkenazy, Vovka Ashkenazy 2
2009 Melodies Debussy; Anne-Marie Rodde, Noël Lee 1
2009 Complete Works for Piano, Volume 5 Claude Debussy; Jean-Efflam Bavouzet 1
2009 La Mer / Images Debussy; Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Emmanuel Krivine 1
2009 Richter plays Debussy Claude Debussy; Святослав Теофилович Рихтер 1
2010 Debussy: String Quartet / Ravel: String Quartet / Violin Sonata Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel; Dante Quartet, Simon Crawford‐Phillips 1
2010 Orchestral Works 3: Images Debussy; Orchestre National de Lyon, Jun Märkl 1
2010 Suite bergamasque / Arabesques, etc. Claude Debussy; Michel Béroff 1
2010 Messiaen: Visions de l’Amen / Debussy: En blanc et noir Olivier Messiaen, Claude Debussy; Ursula Oppens, Jerome Lowenthal 1
2010 Music for 2 Pianos Mozart, Debussy, Bartók; Martha Argerich, Stephen Bishop Kovacevich 2
2010 Quatuors à cordes Debussy, Dutilleux, Ravel; Arcanto Quartet 1
2010 Piano Music, Volume IV: Études Debussy; Pascal Rogé 1
2010 Orchestral Works 4: Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien / Khamma Debussy; Orchestre National de Lyon, Jun Märkl 1
2010 Ravel / Debussy / Massenet Ravel, Debussy, Massenet; Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Yan Pascal Tortelier 1
2010 Récital Debussy Claude Debussy; Samson François 2
2010 BBC Music, Volume 19, Number 1: Debussy & Ravel - Piano Masterpieces Debussy / Ravel 1
2010 Nocturnes / La Mer Claude Debussy; Celibidache, SWR Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra 1
2010 reVisions Claude Debussy, Sergei Prokofiev, Ernest Bloch, Maurice Ravel; Steven Isserlis, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Gábor Takács‐Nagy 1
2011 Orchestral Works 5: La boîte à joujoux / Estampes nos. 1 and 2 / L’isle joyeuse / Six épigraphes antiques Debussy; Orchestre National de Lyon, Jun Märkl 1
2011 La Mer Debussy; Boston Symphony Orchestra, Charles Munch 1
2011 Early Works for Piano Duet Debussy; Adrienne Soós, Ivo Haag 1
2011 Orchestral Works 6: Suite bergamasque / Petite Suite / En blanc et noir / Printemps / Symphony in B minor Debussy; Orchestre National de Lyon, Jun Märkl 1
2011 Complete Solo Piano Music Claude Debussy; Larissa Dedova 1
2011 Piano Music, Volume 5 Claude Debussy; Noriko Ogawa 1
2011 The Royal Philharmonic Collection: Debussy Piano Works Debussy; Ronan O'Hora 1
2011 Primakov in Concert, Vol. 2 Mendelssohn, Debussy, Glass, Bach; Vassily Primakov 1
2011 Jennifer Pike plays Franck, Debussy, Ravel Franck, Debussy, Ravel; Jennifer Pike, Martin Roscoe 1
2011 Trilogie Chopin, Debussy, Ravel; Samson François 1
2011 Orchestral Works 7: Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra / Deux danses / Rhapsodies for Clarinet and Saxophone Debussy; Jean‐Yves Thibaudet, Emmanuel Ceysson, Alexandre Doisy, Paul Meyer, Orchestre National de Lyon, Jun Märkl 1
2011 Franck / Debussy / Poulenc Franck, Debussy, Poulenc; Anne Gastinel, Claire Désert 1
2012 The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian Debussy; BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, Thierry Fischer, Irène Jacob, Elizabeth Atherton, Jennifer Johnston, Tove Dahlberg 1
2012 Sparkling - The Complete Preludes by Claude Debussy Claude Debussy; Ivan Ilić 1
2012 Debussy / Szymanowski Debussy, Szymanowski; Rafał Blechacz 1
2012 Clair de lune Debussy; Natalie Dessay, Philippe Cassard 2
2012 Transcriptions Bach, Debussy, Saint‐Saëns, Mozart, Wagner, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Ravel; GrauSchumacher Piano Duo 1
2012 L'oeuvre pour 2 pianos et piano à 4 mains Debussy; Christian Ivaldi, Noël Lee 1
2012 Le martyre de Saint Sébastien Claude Debussy; Daniele Gatti, Isabelle Huppert, Orchestre national de France, Chœur de Radio France 1
2012 String Quartet / Piano Trio / Deux danses / Rêverie Debussy; Sioned Williams, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Brodsky Quartet 1
2012 Debussy: La Mer / Ravel: Ma Mere l'Oye, La Valse Debussy, Ravel; Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Myun Whun-Chung 1
2012 Stéphane Denève conducts Debussy Claude Debussy; Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Stéphane Denève 1
2012 Préludes Claude Debussy; Alexei Lubimov 1
2012 Messiaen: Visions de l’Amen / Debussy: En blanc et noir Messiaen, Debussy; Ralph van Raat, Håkon Austbø 1
2012 Songs - 2 Debussy; Lorna Anderson, Lisa Milne, Malcolm Martineau 1
2012 Changing Colors Brahms, Beethoven, Schumann, Debussy, Penderecki, Piazzolla; Duo Anger-Gerassimez 1
2012 Les 3 sonates Claude Debussy; J.L. Beaumadier, J. Pernoo, G. Dangain, F. Pierre, A. Roussin, E. Rigollet, P.H. Xuereb, Ensemble La Follia 1
2012 Préludes, Books 1 & 2 Claude Debussy; Pierre‐Laurent Aimard 2
2012 Le temps retrouvé Claude Debussy, Gabriel Fauré, Philippe Gaubert, George Enescu, Charles Koechlin; Toon Fret, Veronika Iltchenko 2
2012 24 Préludes Claude Debussy; Philippe Bianconi 1
2012 12 Etudes / Estampes / 2 Arabesques / L’isle joyeuse Debussy; Mariangela Vacatello 1
2012 String Quartets Debussy, Ravel; Quatuor Talich 2
2012 24 Préludes Claude Debussy, Peter Breiner; Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Jun Märkl 1
2012 Solo Piano Music Claude Debussy; Angela Hewitt 1
2012 Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune / La mer / Images Debussy; Anima Eterna Brugge, Jos van Immerseel 1
2012 Reflections on Debussy Claude Debussy; Laurens Patzlaff 1
2012 Nocturnes / Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune / La Mer Debussy; Orchestre de Paris, Daniel Barenboim 1
2012 Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune / Nocturnes / La Demoiselle élue Claude Debussy; Barbara Hendricks, Daniel Barenboim 1
2013 Debussy: Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune / Stravinsky: Le Sacre du printemps / Ravel: Boléro Debussy, Stravinsky, Maurice Ravel; Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Paris, Philippe Jordan 1
2013 L'Enfance Fauré, Bizet, Debussy, Ravel; Claire Désert, Emmanuel Strosser 1
2013 Four Hand Piano Music Debussy; Jean-Pierre Armengaud, Olivier Chauzu 1
2013 Piano Music, Vol. II Claude Debussy; Michael Korstick 1
2013 The Sound of the Concert Grand Fazioli F278 Debussy, Schumann; Costantino Catena 1
2013 Debussy: La Mer / Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune / Fètes / Ravel: Ma mère l’oye / Rapsodie espagnole / Saint-Saëns: Scherzi Debussy, Ravel, Saint‐Saëns; Pascal Rogé, Ami Rogé 1
2013 Debussy: Ibéria / Ravel: La Valse / Rapsodie Espagnole Debussy; Ravel; Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Theodore Bloomfield 1
2013 L’isle joyeuse / Images, Book I / Etudes, Book II / Estampes Debussy; Nelson Goerner 2
2013 Mélodies Ravel, Debussy; Nathalie Stutzmann, Catherine Collard 1
2013 Preludes Claude Debussy; Alexei Lyubimov 1
2013 Arpeggione Schubert, Debussy, Britten, Schumann; Gautier Capuçon, Frank Braley 1
2013 Complete Music for Piano Duo Claude Debussy; Massimiliano Damerini, Marco Rapetti 1
2013 Klavierkonzerte Debussy, Poulenc, Ravel, Françaix; Florian Uhlig, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern, Pablo González 1
2013 La mer / Première suite d'orchestre Debussy; Les Siècles, François‐Xavier Roth 1
2013 Préludes, books 1 & 2 Debussy; Catherine Collard 1
2013 Reflets dans l'eau Claude Debussy; Kotaro Fukuma 1
2013 Sound Waves Romberg, Debussy, Ravel, Liszt, Schubert; Alexandra Silocea 1

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