Claude Debussy  

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"I have endless memories which are worth more than reality." --Claude Debussy in a letter to André Messager, cited in Ocean of Sound (1995)

"One of the earliest examples of crossover music is the music of French composer Claude Debussy. In 1889 the French government staged the great Paris Exposition, an event that was to have profound effects on many areas of western art and music. Debussy visited the exposition and it was here that he first heard gamelan music performed by Sundanese musicians. He was transfixed by the hypnotic, layered sound of the gamelan orchestra and reportedly returned to the Dutch East Indies pavilion over several days to listen to the Indonesian musicians perform and to study the structure and tuning of this novel musical form. His exposure to gamelan music had a direct influence on the composition of his famous Nocturnes for orchestra. "--Sholem Stein

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Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918) was a French composer best remembered for Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (1894) inspired by the poem "L'Après-midi d'un faune" (1876) by Stéphane Mallarmé.


Along with Maurice Ravel he is considered the most prominent figure working within the style commonly referred to as Impressionist music, though he himself intensely disliked the term when applied to his compositions. Debussy was not only among the most important of all French composers but also a central figure in all European music at the turn of the twentieth century. His music virtually defines the transition from late-Romantic music to twentieth century modernist music. In French literary circles, the style of this period was known as Symbolism, a movement that directly inspired Debussy both as a composer and as an active cultural participant.

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