Claude-Achille Debussy (1862 ? 1918) was a French
composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the
most prominent figures working within the field of
impressionist music, though he himself intensely
disliked the term when applied to his compositions In
France, he was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour
in 1903. A crucial figure in the transition to the
modern era in Western music, he remains one of the most
famous and influential of all composers.
Beginning in the 1890s, Debussy developed his own
musical language largely independent of Wagner's style,
colored in part from the dreamy, sometimes morbid
romanticism of the Symbolist Movement. Debussy became a
frequent participant at Stéphane Mallarmé's Symbolist
gatherings, where Wagnerism dominated the discussion.
In contrast to the enormous works of Wagner and other
late-romantic composers, however, around this time
Debussy chose to write in smaller, more accessible
forms. The Deux Arabesques is an example of one of
Debussy's earliest works, already developing his
musical language. Suite bergamasque (1890) recalls
rococo decorousness with a modern cynicism and
puzzlement. This suite contains (this) one of Debussy's
most popular pieces, "Clair de Lune".
His music is noted for its sensory component and for
not often forming around one key or pitch. Often
Debussy's work reflected the activities or turbulence
in his own life. 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.