Debussy and the French School

Spring

Debussy’s influence on today’s music is incalculable. He has been called the only “universal” French composer and is very likely also the greatest. This course will deal with the ambience of the Second Empire, from which Debussy emerged, and with his relationships to the impressionist, symbolist, and decadent aesthetics. Allowing for earlier influences, including the contradictory effects of Wagner, we will explore Debussy’s revolutionary musical language in detail, with many references to older and younger contemporaries such as Massenet, Saint-Saëns, Franck, Satie, Ravel, and the group known as Les Six. For approach and qualifications, see Mozart and Beethoven: Music from 1720 to 1810. This is one of the component courses required for all Advanced Theory students.