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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

DEBUSSY, Claude
b St Cermain-en-Laye, 22 August 1862
d Paris, 25 March 1918, aged fifty-five

He had his first piano lesson when he visited an aunt in Cannes in 1871. The following year he entered the Paris Conservatory. He was fortunate in finding wealthy patronesses, and in 1882 he first appeared as a composer in a concert of his songs and violin pieces. In 1884 he won the Prix de Rome, which required him to stay in that city. He returned to Paris in 1887. For a time he was very short of money and gave a piano lesson on his wedding morning in 1899 in order to pay for the reception. Then his works gradually became more accepted; he was given the Legion d'honneur and was appointed to the advisory board of the Conservatory. Financially more secure, it was ironic that when he divorced and remarried in 1908 his new wife was wealthy. His health began to deteriorate in 1909 and progressively worsened until his death.

1887-9 (15-17)

Trio in G minor

1880 (18)

Danse bohemienne, for piano

Andante for piano

'La belle au bois dormant', song (1880-88)

1881 (19)

Fugue for piano

1882 (20)

Two Four-part Fugues for piano

Triomphe de Bacchus, for piano duet

Intermezzo, for orchestra

Printemps, for women's choir and orchestra

1883 (21)

Invocation, for male voice choir and orchestra

Le Gladiateur, cantata

1884 (22)

L'enfant prodigue, cantata

Diane au bois, for chorus

Divertissement No 1, for orchestra

Suite for orchestra, No 1

1885 (23)

Almanzor, for chorus

1887-8 (25-6)

The Blessed Damozel (La Damoiselle élue), cantata (on a French translation of Rossetti's poem)

1887-9 (25-7)

Cinq poemes de Baudelaire, songs

1888 (26)

Petite Suite, for piano (four hands):

'En bateau'; 'Cortege'; 'Menuet'; 'Ballet'

Arabesques I and II, for piano

Ariettes oubliées, songs

1889-90 (27-8)

Fantaisie, for piano and orchestra

1890 (28)

Suite Bergamasque, for piano:

'Prelude'

'Menuet'

'Clair de lune'

'Passepied' (1890-1905)

Tarentelle Styrienne (Danse), for piano

Ballade, for piano

Reverie, for piano

Valse romantique, for piano

1891 (29)

Mazurka, for piano

Marche ecossaise

Trois mélodies de Verlaine, songs

Deux romances, songs

Rodrigue et Chimene, opera in three acts (unfinished) (1891-2)

1892 (30)

Fetes galantes, songs (first series)

1893 (31)

String Quartet in G minor

Proses lyriques, songs

1894 (32)

Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune, for orchestra

1897 (35)

Chansons de Bilitis, songs

1900 (38)

Nocturnes, for orchestra

'Nuages'

'Fetes'

'Sirenes', with wordless female chorus

1901 (39)

Pour le piano: (possibly 1896)

'Prelude'

'Sarabande'

'Toccata'

1902 (40)

Pelléas et Melisande, opera

1903 (41)

Estampes, for piano:

'Pagodas'

'Soiree dans Grenade'

'Jardins sous la pluie'

Danse sacrée et danse profane, for harp and strings

D'un cahier d'esquisses, for piano

Le Diable dans le beffroi, libretto and musical sketches

1903-5 (41-3)

Rhapsodie, for saxophone, contralto and orchestra

1904 (42)

L'isle joyeuse, for piano

Trois chansons de France

Masques, for piano

La Mer, three symphonic sketches

Fetes galantes, songs (second series)

1905 (43)

Images, for piano, Book 1:

'Reflets dans l'eau'

'Hommage a Rameau'

'Mouvement'

1907 (45)

Images, for piano, Book II:

'Cloches a travers les feuilles'

'Et la June descend sur la temple qui fut'

'Poissons d'or'

1908 (46)

Children's Corner, for piano:

'Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum'

'Jumbo's Lullaby'

'Doll's Serenade'

'Snow is Dancing'

'Little Shepherd'

'Golliwog's Cake-walk'

Ibéria, (No 2 of Images for orchestra)

Trois chansons de Charles d'Orléans, for unaccompanied chorus

The Fall of the House of Usher (sketches for libretto and vocal score unfinished, 1909-10)

1909 (47)

Rondes de Printemps (No 3 of Images for orchestra)

Hommage a Haydn, for piano

1909-10 (47-8)

Preludes for piano, Book I (twelve preludes)

Trois ballades de Francois Villon, songs

Petite piece en Bb major, for clarinet and piano

La plus que lente, for piano

Le Promenoir des deux amants, three songs

Rhapsody for clarinet and orchestra, No 1

1911 (49)

The Martyrdom of St Sebastian, incidental music to d'Annunzio's mystery-play

1912 (50)

Gigues (No 1 of Images for orchestra)

Jeux, poeme danse, for orchestra

Khamma, ballet

Syrinx, for solo flute

1913 (51)

La Boite 2 a Joujoux, ballet music for piano

Preludes for piano, Book II (twelve preludes)

Trois poemes de Stéphane Mallarmé, songs

1914 (52)

Berceuse héroique, for piano

1915 (53)

Cello Sonata in D minor

En blanc et noir, piano duet

Douze Etudes, for piano

Six epigraphes antiques, for piano

Noël des enfants, for chorus

1916 (54)

Sonata for flute, viola and harp, in G minor

Ode a la France, for chorus (1916-17)

1917 (55)

Violin Sonata in G minor and G major

 

 

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