Happy Birthday to Claude Debussy!

Claude-Achille Debussy, one of the world’s greatest composers, was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, on the 22nd of August in 1862. He is best known for his contributions to impressionist music. His rich and easily distinguishable chord progressions have made a lasting impression on the European musical landscape.

Claude DebussyDebussy’s main instru­ment was piano. His com­po­si­tions for piano include famous works, such as the Deux Arabesques, Children’s Cor­ner Suite, Préludes and Suite Berga­masque. His orches­tral works have not lost their charm either: Debussy’s orches­tral com­po­si­tion La Mer (The Sea) is still fre­quently per­formed around the world.

Debussy was a dar­ing com­poser. He stood up against the nor­ma­tive ways offered by the dif­fer­ent musi­cal insti­tutes he attended dur­ing his life. He is known for not stay­ing in just one pitch for the whole dura­tion of his com­po­si­tions but rather explor­ing music more freely. His com­po­si­tions are often miss­ing chord pro­gres­sion releases, which cre­ated pre­vi­ously unheard musi­cal imagery. Despite not fol­low­ing his con­tem­po­rary musi­cal the­o­rists’ advice, some of his com­po­si­tions have been found to have a highly math­e­mat­i­cal structure.

At times Debussy suf­fered from depres­sion which dis­abled him as a com­poser. His love life included mar­riages and lovers — changes in his pri­vate life and emo­tions are reflected in his music.

La nuit d’étoiles is one of Debussy’s ear­lier com­poso­si­tions which he fin­ished at the age of 22. This time­less, beau­ti­ful piece is per­formed by the Belgian-born Dutch soprano Hélène Ludolph on a record­ing from the 1930s.

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