Claude Debussy spent many years trapped in the sound of Richard Wagner, as so many young, talented composers in his day were.

One story about his breakout concerns the Velvet Gentleman, Erik Satie. It is said that one day, Debussy heard a piece by the older Satie that contained chords like the ones we associate with Debussy today. Satie, upon seeing Debussy's, shall we say interest, withdrew from that direction, leaving Debussy a clear field.

Debussy has become known, in particular, for his piano compositions. One of the greatest is the Children's Corner, La boite a joujou.

It is inscribed a ma chere petite chouchou, avec les tendres regards do ton pere pour ce qui suit. "To my sweet little cabbage, with the tender regards of your father for what follows."

The tragedy is, she died before she could play it.

... was actually greatly influenced by the harmonic structures of Wagner and, though he denied it throughout his career, there is firm evidence of Wagnerian structure in much of his music. Curiously, he mocks Wagner's unresolvable "Tristan and Isolde" opening chord in one of his better known piano works, The Golliwog's Cakewalkmaking it sound stilted and awkward.

He was quite an arrogant man - various womenfolk of his tried or failed to kill themselves, and he didn't give a toss what other people thought about his revolutionary harmony, going beyond courting controversy and actually encouraging it probably just to get more attention to his music. He was open minded about new developments in harmony and structure: he was one of the few people to remain seated in the première of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring ballet.

Much pretentious bollocks has been written about what is probably his best known orchestral work, "Prélude à l'Après-midi d'un Faune" one classic description being "In the first nine bars, Debussy cuts the umbilical chord of modern music", and (sic) " On one hand, the interwoven tissues and fabric of shadows and dreams, and on the other a fragrance of flaming Mediterranean sunlight." (Christopher Palmer) Hmm.

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