His private life was also a huge influence on his music, whether it was his many affairs and relationships, or his daughter, the apple of his eye. Though Debussy did not agree with using this term for his music, many argued that his style related mostly to impressionism. Impressionism was considered to be vague, relaxing hazy, and indistinct. This style of music requires effort on the listener’s part in order to understand the meaning or underlying message. In the time of Debussy works, being called an “impressionist’ was not something that he wanted to be called.
According to a letter written in March, 1908, Claude Debussy said, “l am trying to do ‘something different’- in a way realities- what the imbeciles call ‘impressionism’ is a term which is as poorly used as possible, particularly by art critics,” (Thompson 18). Symbolist poets notably influenced Claude Debussy work. Symbolist poets used their works to represent absolute truths and they represented these truths indirectly. One work that influenced one of Debussy pieces was Dante Gabriel Rosette’s “Blessed Damaged. ” Edgar Allan Pope’s, “The Raven,” inspired Rosette’s poem.
Claude Debussy work that was influences by Rosette’s, “Blessed Damaged,” was La Admissible ‰lee (Holloway 42). Debussy composed a setting of this piece in a French translation for TV&’0 soloists, a female choir, and an orchestra (Holloway 44). The next piece of Debussy that was influenced by a symbolist poet was his work of Pellets et Enlistment. This piece was an opera composed by Debussy for the written play by Maurice Maintenance (Holloway 61). Many could tell that Pellets et Enlistment had many similar characteristics to the works of the
German composer, Richard Wagner (Holloway 65). Another example of how symbolist poets influenced Claude Debussy is his Prelude to the Afternoon of the Faun. This composition was inspired by the poem, Leaps-midi dun fauna by Stephan Mallard (Holloway 87). This is one of Debussy most popular pieces and it is considered to have been a turning point in musical history (Holloway 88). It has been said that Stephan Mallard was sort Of offended at first that someone was using his poem for music. Apparently, he said that, “his own music was sufficient,” (Smith 200).
Then, Debussy soon received a letter from Mallard about the piece that he had composed. In it, it said: I have just come out of the concert, deeply moved. The marvel! Your illustration of the Afternoon of a Faun, which presents a dissonance with my text only by going much further, really, into nostalgia and into light, with finesse, with sensuality, with richness. I press your hand admiringly, Debussy. Yours, Mallard. (Smith 201) Many of Claude Debussy works had exotic influences. Some of the main exotic influences on his music that Debussy ad came from Asia, Russia, Spain, and even America.
One of the major influences on Debussy work was from the time he had heard a Javanese gametal play in Paris. That was what brought Debussy to use the pentatonic scale in his pieces (Smith 198). Claude Debussy had quite a bit of Spanish influences in many of his works. Some of his pieces that had heavy Spanish influences in them were Liberia, Soars Dana Grenade, his Cello Sonata, and Stamped (Elderly 5). Debussy piece Golliwog’s Cakewalk was considered to have American exoticism. This work was strongly influenced by Debussy interest in Jazz (Elderly 9).
Debussy had somewhat off crazy love life. At the age Of 18 he began an eight-year affair with Balance Evasive, wife Of a wealthy Parisian lawyer. The relationship eventually ended after he won the PRI De Rome (Thompson 31). On his permanent return to Paris and his parents’ home in Berlin in 1889, he began a nine-year relationship with Gabrielle Dupont, a tailor’s daughter from Leslies. He later moved in with her (Thompson 35). During this time he also had an affair with the singer There Roger, to whom he was briefly engaged (Thompson 36).
He left Gabrielle for her friend Rosalie Dexter, a fashion model whom he married in 1899. Although Rosalie was affectionate, practical, straightforward, and well liked by Debussy friends and associates, he became irritated by her intellectual limitations and lack of musical sensitivity (Thompson 40). In 1 904, Rural, one Of his students, introduced Debussy to his mother, Emma Bard, the wife Of Parisian banker Sigmoid Bard. Opposite to Rosalie, Emma was sophisticated, a brilliant conversationalist, and an accomplished singer (Thompson 43).
After sending Rosalie back to her father’s home in Buchanan on July 1 5th, 1904, Debussy secretly took Emma to Jersey for a holiday. On their return to France, Debussy wrote to Rosalie from Dipped on August 1 lath, telling her that their marriage was over, did not mention his new relationship with Emma (Thompson 46). On October 14th, five days before their fifth wedding anniversary, Rosalie attempted suicide, shooting herself in the chest while standing in the Place De la Concorde. She survived, although the bullet remained stuck in her vertebrae until her death in 1932.
The ensuing scandal was to alienate Debussy from many of his friends, and her family disowned Emma (Thompson 51). In the spring of 1905, finding the hostility towards them intolerable, Debussy and Emma, were now pregnant, ran away to England, staying at the Grand Hotel in Eastbound from July 24th to August 30th, 1905, where Debussy was to correct proofs to his symphonic suite La mere and celebrate his divorce from Rosalie on August 2nd. After ending their holiday with a short visit to London, they returned to Paris, setting up a home soon after (Thompson 57).
Debussy daughter, and only child, Claude-Emma, was born on October 30th. She was the apple of his eye. Everyone that met her adored her immediately. Mostly known to Debussy as ‘Chough’, Claude-Emma was the complete inspiration of his Children’s Corner suite; she outlived her father by nearly a year, ending up being a part of the diphtheria epidemic of 1919 (Elderly 26). Claude Debussy is an extremely known composer. He was known for his crazy, bizarre sounding music that sometimes was not even liked. He received quite a bit of criticism for how different his work was.