A beautifully written and original biography of one of the greatest and most popular of modern composers--which also deeply investigates his much-loved music.
Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was that rare creature, a composer who reinvented the language of music without alienating the majority of music lovers. The creator of such classics as La Mer and Clair de Lune, of Pelléas et Mélisande and his magnificent, delicate piano works, he is the modernist everybody loves, the man who drove French music into entirely new regions of beauty and excitement at a time when old traditions--and the overbearing influence of Wagner--threatened to stifle it. As a central figure at the birth of modernism, Debussy's influence on French culture was profound. Yet at the same time his own life was complicated and often troubled by struggles over money, women, and ill-health. Walsh's engagingly original approach is to enrich a lively account of this life with brilliant analyses of Debussy's music: from his first daring breaks with the rules as a Conservatoire student to his mature achievements as the greatest French composer of his time. The Washington Post called Stephen Walsh's Stravinsky "one of the best books ever written about a composer." Debussy is a worthy successor.