Claude Debussy citations

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Claude Debussy

Date de naissance: 22. août 1862
Date de décès: 25. mars 1918
Autres noms: Claude A. Debussy, Claude Achille Debussy

Claude Debussy est un compositeur français né le 22 août 1862 à Saint-Germain-en-Laye et mort le 25 mars 1918 à Paris.

En posant en 1894 avec Prélude à l'Après-midi d'un faune le premier jalon de la musique moderne, Debussy place d’emblée son œuvre sous le sceau de l’avant-garde musicale. Il est brièvement wagnérien en 1889, puis anticonformiste le reste de sa vie, en rejetant tous les académismes esthétiques. Avec La Mer, il renouvelle la forme symphonique ; avec Jeux, il inscrit la musique pour ballet dans un modernisme prophétique ; avec Pelléas et Mélisande, l’opéra français sort des ornières de la tradition du drame lyrique, tandis qu’il confère à la musique de chambre, avec son quatuor à cordes et son trio, des accents impressionnistes inspirés.

Une part importante de son œuvre est pour le piano et utilise une palette sonore particulièrement riche et évocatrice.

Claude Debussy laisse l’image d’un créateur original et profond d’une musique où souffle le vent de la liberté. Son impact sera décisif dans l’histoire de la musique. Pour André Boucourechliev, il incarnerait la véritable révolution musicale du vingtième siècle.

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„Music is the space between the notes.“

—  Claude Debussy

As quoted in Turning Numbers into Knowledge: Mastering the Art of Problem Solving (2001) by Jonathan G. Koomey, p. 96; since at least 2010 similar statements are also sometimes attributed to Mozart, and a similar remark, apparently one of Ben Jonson, is quoted in "Notes to Cynthia's Revels, in The Works of Ben Jonson: With Notes Critical and Explanatory, and a Biographical Memoir (1875), edited by William Gifford, Vol. 2, in notes to p. 223, on p. 551: Division, in music, is "the space between the notes of music, or the dividing of the tones."
Unsourced variants:
Music is the silence between the notes.
The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.
The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between them.
Variante: Music is the space between the notes.

„There’s no need either for music to make people think! … It would be enough if music could make people listen“

—  Claude Debussy

Letter to Paul Dukas (1901)
Contexte: I confess that I am no longer thinking in musical terms, or at least not much, even though I believe with all my heart that Music remains for all time the finest means of expression we have. It’s just that I find the actual pieces — whether they’re old or modern, which is in any case merely a matter of dates — so totally poverty-stricken, manifesting an inability to see beyond the work-table. They smell of the lamp, not of the sun. And then, overshadowing everything, there’s the desire to amaze one’s colleagues with arresting harmonies, quite unnecessary for the most part. In short, these days especially, music is devoid of emotional impact. I feel that, without descending to the level of the gossip column or the novel, it should be possible to solve the problem somehow. There’s no need either for music to make people think! … It would be enough if music could make people listen, despite themselves and despite their petty mundane troubles, and never mind if they’re incapable of expressing anything resembling an opinion. It would be enough if they could no longer recognize their own grey, dull faces, if they felt that for a moment they had been dreaming of an imaginary country, that’s to say, one that can’t be found on the map.

„I do not practise religion in accordance with the sacred rites. I have made mysterious Nature my religion.“

—  Claude Debussy

As quoted in Claude Debussy: His Life and Works (1933) by Léon Vallas, p. 225
Variant translation: Before the passing sky, in long hours of contemplation of its magnificent and ever-changing beauty, I am seized by an incomparable emotion. The whole expanse of nature is reflected in my own sincere and feeble soul. Around me the branches of trees reach out toward the firmament, here are sweet-scented flowers smiling in the meadow, here the soft earth is carpeted with sweet herbs. … Nature invites its ephemeral and trembling travelers to experience these wonderful and disturbing spectacles — that is what I call prayer.
As quoted in The Life of the Creative Spirit (2001) by H. Charles Romesburg, p. 240
Contexte: I do not practise religion in accordance with the sacred rites. I have made mysterious Nature my religion. I do not believe that a man is any nearer to God for being clad in priestly garments, nor that one place in a town is better adapted to meditation than another. When I gaze at a sunset sky and spend hours contemplating its marvelous ever-changing beauty, an extraordinary emotion overwhelms me. Nature in all its vastness is truthfully reflected in my sincere though feeble soul. Around me are the trees stretching up their branches to the skies, the perfumed flowers gladdening the meadow, the gentle grass-carpetted earth, … and my hands unconsciously assume an attitude of adoration. … To feel the supreme and moving beauty of the spectacle to which Nature invites her ephemeral guests! … that is what I call prayer.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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