Claude Debussy Concert Review

Subject: Art
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 2
Word count: 354
Topics: Music, Art History, Impressionism, Poetry

 In March 1894, Claude Debussy was supposed to perform a poem titled Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faun. However, it was canceled because the composer had not finished revising the piece. Instead, Debussy performed the piece later on 22nd and 23rd December at the Societe Nationale in Paris, France. The crowd was so moved that they requested the conductor Gustave Doret to do the piece again on the spot. Debussy was a composer who did not restrain himself on the laid down rules of music at that time. The composition of the poems was an inspiration Debussy got from his friend and symbolist Stephane Mallarme (Schwarm, 2011)

During the performance, Debussy began with the flowing flute melody evocative that took a female form.  Then gently swelling phrase for strings, adding in the harp and horns later to add in the melodious tune (Simms, 1996). The music produced continues swiftly without abrupt shifts or turns. The themes blended into each other slowly while rising and falling simultaneously (Simms, 1996). The middle section of the performance featured a clarinet and oboe solos before the flute gradually overtook and retook the spots as it was initially. In the final moment of the performance, there were airy touches of percussion that came from cymbals (Norton et al., 2001). 

In conclusion, the concert lived up to people’s expectation. The performance moved people, and the music became famous in the 20th century after the influence in the art school. The tone of the poem is considered a quintessential sample of impressionism. Afterwards, even though against Debussy wishes, people referred to him as an impressionist (Simms, 1996).  He did not like when people referred to his compositions as impressions. In 1903, he was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honor (Schwarm, 2011)

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  1. Grout, Donald J., and Claude V. Palisca.  1995. A History of Western Music. 6thed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2001.Ross, Alex. The Rest is Noise. New York: 
  2. Simms, Brian  R. Music of the Twentieth Century, Style and Structure. 2nded. Belmont: Schirmer, 1996.
  3. Schwarm, B. (2011). Classical Music Insights: Understanding and Enjoying Great Music. Trafford Publishing.
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