Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)

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01Background20060904Debussy lived through a period of immense change - socially, economically and politically - in France.|Donald Macleod considers how the events Debussy witnessed firsthand - which include the Commune, the birth of the Second Empire and the First World War - helped shape his musical expression.
Feux d'artifice, Second Book of Preludes|Krystian Zimerman (piano)
Green and Spleen from Ariettes Oubliées|Dawn Upshaw (soprano)|James Levine (piano)
Excerpt from l'Enfant Prodigue|Jessye Norman (soprano)|Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra|Gary Bertini (conductor)
La Damoiselle Elue|Maria Ewing (soprano)|Brigitte Balleys (mezzo soprano)|London Symphony Orchestra|Claudio Abbado (conductor)|
Estampes|Alexis Weissenberg (piano).
02Impressionism20060905Debussy's music is often linked with the artistic term impressionism.|Although there are clear parallels of subject matter between the two art forms, Debussy was influenced by all the prevailing artistic currents in Paris.|Donald Macleod explores the melting pot.
La catedrale engloutie|Krystian Zimerman (piano)
En blanc et noir|Katia and Marielle Labèque (piano)
Nocturnes|Concertgebouw Orchestra|Collegium Musicum Amstelodamense|Bernard Haitink (conductor)
Pantomime|Dawn Upshaw (soprano)|James Levine (piano).
03Literary Circles20060906Café society was a fundamental element of 19th-century Paris, and Debussy enjoyed going to some of the most famous establishments.|It was in these watering holes that he mixed with some of the most influential artistic groups of the day.
La plus que lente|Walter Gieseking (piano)
L'après-midi d'un faune|Paris Orchestra|Daniel Barenboim (conductor)
String Quartet|Talich Quartet|Recueillement from Cinq Poèmes de Baudelaire|Christopher Maltman (baritone)|Malcolm Martineau (piano)|Prelude to Rodrigue et Chimène|Lyon Opera Orchestra|Kent Nagano (conductor).
04Dramatic Works20060907Like many composers of the period, Debussy was deeply affected by Wagner's operas.|Donald Macleod looks at how Debussy was inspired - both by what he'd seen in Bayreuth and by the prevalent artistic influences in Paris - to write his dramatic works.|Rodrigue et Chimène (excerpt)|Gilles Ragon (tenor)|Hélène Jossoud (mezzo soprano)|Donna Brown (soprano)|Laurence Dale (tenor)|Chorus and Orchestra of Lyon Opera|Kent Nagano (conductor)|Pelléas et Mélisande, excerpt from Act 3|Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo soprano)|Wolfgang Holzmair, Laurent Naouri (baritone)|National Orchestra of France|Bernard Haitink (conductor)|Jeux|Vienna Philharmonic|Lorin Maazel (conductor)|The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian (excerpt)|Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra|James Conlon (conductor).
05 LASTThe Final Chapter20060908Debussy was a complex character.|Donald Macleod builds a picture of a contradictory figure from the accounts left behind by those who knew him.|Trois poèmes de Stephane Mallarmé|Sandrine Piau (soprano)|Jose van Immerseel (piano)|Images (Iberia)|Montreal Symphony Orchestra|Charles Dutoit (conductor)|Violin sonata|Augustin Dumay (violin)|Maria Joo Pires (piano)|La Mer (Dialogue du vent)|Philharmonia Orchestra|Geoffrey Simon (conductor).