Today’s Google Doodle about Claude Debussy is meant to be enjoyed, turn up your speakers, sit back and listen to the music of Claude Debussy “Clair de Lune” while watching the animated Google Doodle. The 22 August 2013 doodle is about Claude Debussy and Google is honoring him, for his great contributions to the music industry. He was a famous French composer born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France on the 22 August 1862.
Claude Debussy died of rectal cancer at his Paris home on 25 March 1918. He had been diagnosed with the cancer in 1909 after experiencing hemorrhaging, and in 1916 underwent one of the earliest colostomy operations ever performed. The operation achieved only a temporary respite, and occasioned him considerable frustration.
His death occurred in the midst of the aerial and artillery bombardment of Paris during the German Spring Offensive of World War I. The funeral procession made its way through deserted streets to Père Lachaise Cemetery as the German guns bombarded the city. The military situation in France was critical, and did not permit the honor of a public funeral with ceremonious graveside orations. Debussy’s body was reinterred the following year in the small Passy Cemetery sequestered behind the Trocadéro, fulfilling his wish to rest ‘among the trees and the birds’; his wife and daughter are buried with him.
Claude Debussy Composer and Music
Claude Debussy was a pioneer in music, he was known to be argumentative and experimental within his music. He was an exceptional pianist and could have had a successful career in playing the piano if he so chosen.
As the winner of the 1884 Prix de Rome with his composition L’enfant prodigue, Debussy received a scholarship to the Académie des Beaux-Arts, which included a four-year residence at the Villa Medici, the French Academy in Rome, to further his studies (1885–1887). According to letters to Madame Vasnier, perhaps in part designed to gain her sympathy, he found the artistic atmosphere stifling, the company boorish, the food bad, and the monastic quarters “abominable”. Neither did he delight in the pleasures of the “Eternal City”, finding the Italian opera of Donizetti and Verdi not to his taste.
Claude Debussy was often depressed and unable to compose, but he was inspired by Franz Liszt, whose command of the keyboard he found admirable.
In June 1885, Claude Debussy wrote of his desire to follow his own way, saying, “I am sure the Institute would not approve, for, naturally it regards the path which it ordains as the only right one. But there is no help for it! I am too enamored of my freedom, too fond of my own ideas!” – Claude Debussy
Claude Debussy finally composed four pieces that were sent to the Academy: the symphonic ode Zuleima, based on a text by Heinrich Heine; the orchestral piece Printemps; the cantata La damoiselle élue (1887–1888), which was criticized by the Academy as “bizarre”; and the Fantaisie for piano and orchestra. The third piece was the first in which stylistic features of Debussy’s later style emerged. The fourth piece was heavily based on César Franck’s music and Debussy withdrew it. The Academy chided him for “courting the unusual” and hoped for something better from the gifted student. Even though Debussy’s works showed the influence of Jules Massenet, Massenet concluded, “He is an enigma.”
During his visits to Bayreuth in 1888-9, Debussy was exposed to Wagnerian opera, which had a lasting impact on his work. Richard Wagner had died in 1883 and the cult of Wagnerism was still in full swing. Debussy, like many young musicians of the time, responded positively to Wagner’s sensuousness, mastery of form, and striking harmonies. Wagner’s extroverted emotionalism was not to be Debussy’s way, but the German composer’s influence is evident in La damoiselle élue and the 1889 piece Cinq poèmes de Charles Baudelaire. Other songs of the period, notably the settings of Verlaine – Ariettes oubliées, Trois mélodies, and Fêtes galantes – are all in a more capricious style. Around this time, Debussy met Erik Satie, who proved a kindred spirit in his experimental approach to composition and to naming his pieces. During this period, both musicians were bohemians enjoying the same cafe society and struggling to stay afloat financially.
In 1889, at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, Claude Debussy heard Javanese gamelan music. Although direct citations of gamelan scales, melodies, rhythms, or ensemble textures have not been identified in any of Debussy’s compositions, the equal-tempered pentatonic scale appears in his music of this time and afterward.
In the article on Wikipedia about
you can find a complete list of his works and compositions, and also listen and learn more about Claude Debussy.