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Debussy's music is quite different from that of Mozart or Beethoven. So, if you're comparing him to those guys...

I usually like something more when I understand it better. So, instead of trying to "like" Debussy's music more, you should try to understand it better. I find music worth trying to understand, but I don't care about convincing anyone else.

And, as others have said, you should ask yourself why you want to like something that you don't like. The famous composers are a pantheon of gods, and we're supposed to love and respect them all, right? This is crazy. Love and respect yourself first, and see where that journey takes you.

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev

I suppose we must share some soul traits with a composer to fully feel and fall in love with his music. But if my soul is different what can I do about it?


I think this best expresses my feelings, too. There are a few composers that I just don't connect with, and even some pieces (by composers that I like!) that I don't care to hear, much less spend the time learning.

As far as Debussy goes, if you really want to try to find something you like, I second (or third?) giving Estampes a listen - particularly La soirée dans Grenade and Jardins sous la pluie. Those pieces really sound like they are painting a specific picture with sound.


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For me personally the greatest Debussy can be found in his last period, from 1906 to 1917. This includes the 2 books of piano preludes (1909-1913), the truly wonderful "En blanc et noir" for 2 pianos (1915), the Etudes (1915), and the sonatas for cello and piano (1915); flute, violin, and harp (1915); and violin and piano (1917).

I highly recommend the excellent Wikipedia article on Debussy: Wikipedia Article on Debussy

It is thorough, thoughtful, and well written.


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I learnt a fair amount of Debussy - Préludes, Estampes, Images - when I was a student, with my last teacher who chose all the pieces for me to learn. (Just as well, or I'd never have played any major Schumann, or late Beethoven, or Bartók......)

Prior to that, I didn't care for his music much, and while I still don't care much for his impressionist stuff, I do like some of his other music to the extent of performing them in public.

So, there is something to be said for learning stuff that you don't like (or don't think you like), whether or not you persevere with it or end up liking it. Man cannot live by Romantic composers alone.

Incidentally, I find it interesting to compare the pieces by Debussy and Ravel that are in direct competition: Claude's Danse sacrée et danse profane v Maurice's Introduction et allegro pour harpe, flûte, clarinette et quatuor à cordes. They were commissioned by rival harp manufacturers (Pleyel v Érard) for their new harp designs.

Unquestionably, Ravel's is by far the greater piece.........

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBm1w8J63mg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3UGewCinYw

......just as Gaspard de la nuit is a far greater work than any solo piano piece by Debussy. smirk


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Interesting, bennevis. Like so many early moderns, two things:

1. his early music is gorgeous, meaningful and totally characteristic -- Petite Suite, Arabesques, Bergamasque.
2. once he feels the pressure to get more and more avant-garde and 'out there', different story.

La Damoiselle élue and l'enfant prodigue, both early, have gorgeous preludes. (You can tell I'm a keyboard player, always looking for creative de-facto transcriptions.) I suspect Debussy's more challenging stuff would sound gorgeous too if one could be lying under the piano as a Horowitz or Bolet plays it and that this goes for a great deal of ostensibly less-appealing music by famous people. Meanwhile, Debussy's Préludes etc. are mostly not my thing.

Am convinced many later moderns wrote deliberately ugly stuff -- the emperor's new clothes applies through all art forms in the last quarter of the 20th century and on. Picasso confessed in Life mag to having done it all to make fools of critics. People say the quote's spurious -- but they would, wouldn't they.

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I am afraid that I have never found any interest or any enjoyment in listening to any of Debussy's works (with one exception). To me, "Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune" just sounds like a dirge. So many people love Debussy that I feel that I am missing out here - but the fact is that I don't like his music, no matter how many times I try to listen to it. So I have never tried to play it. But then, my chief love in terms of piano music is the Classical era (up to Schubert) - and Debussy is far removed from that. The exception is his opera "Pelléas et Mélisande"- probably because it is an opera, with all the extra dimensions that opera has.

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Originally Posted by SlowStrings
Interesting, bennevis. Like so many early moderns, two things:

1. his early music is gorgeous, meaningful and totally characteristic -- Petite Suite, Arabesques, Bergamasque.
2. once he feels the pressure to get more and more avant-garde and 'out there', different story.
I think Debussy's later works are far superior to his early works. Debussy would be considered such and important and revolutionary composer if had only composed in his early style.

I don't think Debussy's style changed because he "felt pressure to get more avant garde". Do you have any biographical source for that claim?

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Debussy is a pantheon composer. You'll come around sooner or later.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think Debussy's later works are far superior to his early works. Debussy would be considered such and important and revolutionary composer if had only composed in his early style.

Did you mean he wouldn't?

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Originally Posted by JoelW
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think Debussy's later works are far superior to his early works. Debussy would be considered such and important and revolutionary composer if had only composed in his early style.

Did you mean he wouldn't?
Yes and I can't correct the original statement unfortunately.

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Quote
[s][/s]>Please recommend your favorite Debussy pieces and tell me why he is so amazing. I want to love his music like a lot of people do, but I simply don't like his style I think.


I like for instance ths piece from him, here is a link to my attempt at it

cathedrale engloutie

A completely different piece I like very much

fille aux cheveux de lin

In both pieces I like debussy because of the tonal world he creates, even though these pieces are so different. The combination of chords, buildup of the piece. You could also say its the feeling his music gives me.

Well, I suppose this is the reason for all of us? The only difference is that different people like different tonal worlds. Maybe it's not different from asking why some like sweets and others like pepper

I also once tried to understand why others love some pieces. I stopped with that, even if I understood their feelings, it would not change my own feelings.

Last edited by wouter79; 06/09/19 04:59 PM.

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Yeah you can never go wrong with the ole Sunken Cathedral.

Debussy is, remember, a very particular sound. You can't like everything.

I want to like Mozart. Never managed it though.

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On a rainy evening lie in bed ,in the dark ,with earphones on
and listen to "Gardens in the Rain".That's what happened to
me and the next day I started working on it.

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Originally Posted by OscoBosco
Please recommend your favorite Debussy pieces and tell me why he is so amazing. I want to love his music like a lot of people do, but I simply don't like his style I think.


What style of music do you like, then?

I think we all have a composer or a sub-genre of classical music we just can't appreciate. Vivaldi and atonal music for me...

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Anyway, at what point do we "like" a composer?

Say you don't like anything a composer ever wrote, apart from one piece which is the finest piece of music you've ever heard? Does that count as liking that composer?

There will be some Debussy you like, but how much remains to be seen.

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