Nearly one hundred years after the death of its composer, the music of Claude Debussy has lost none of its breadth of appeal. With the rare ability to entice listeners on many levels, at its heart lies an engaging simplicity-one which defies traditional analysis and lends mystery to what ultimately is an extremely refined and highly personal approach to composition. Equally fascinating is Debussy's often contradictory personality--at times elusive, but always centered on his devotion to music and his ambition to create a name for himself unlike any other.
Author Eric Frederick Jensen provides new insight to the man and the music in this authoritative biography. Although born into poverty, and a failure as a piano student at the Paris Conservatoire, Debussy became the most famous French composer of his day, known for his culture and refinement. His revolutionary music baffled critics but was embraced by audiences. Debussy's scandalous personal life stirred up as much controversy as his music, and his notoriety proved more harmful to his career than the unusual nature of his compositions.
Jensen also explores Debussy's relationship to the arts and his career as a music critic. Debussy drew on all of the arts in his development as a composer, including poetry and painting, and his fascination with the arts has often led to his being classified as an Impressionist or Symbolist, two claims which Jensen debunks. One of the finest music critics of his time, Debussy's reviews reveal a great deal not only about his musical taste, but also about what he felt the role and function of music should be.
Debussy brings together the most recent biographical research, including a revised catalogue of Debussy's compositions and the first complete edition of his correspondence. With separate, chronological sections on his life and music, Debussy is accessible to the general reader who wishes to focus on his life and personality, while providing detailed discussion of the music to musicians and students.
Eric Frederick Jensen received a doctorate in musicology from the Eastman School of Music. He has written widely in his areas of expertise: German Romanticism, and nineteenth- and early twentieth-century French music. His study of Robert Schumann, also in the Master Musicians Series, is now in its second edition.
"In this first major history of Claude Debussy in more than 20 years, Jensen brings to life France's iconic, influential, and complex son. This comprehensive account incorporates the most current scholarship and newly discovered compositions with fresh perspective and critical analysis. Highly recommended." --Choice