Claude Debussy: 'That's the Way I'm Made'

Audio not yet available
Email a Friend
Claude Debussy in 1908.

Claude Debussy is often called an impressionist, but he personally despised the term. As his career developed, he became increasingly determined to transcend all categories. He once wrote, “I feel more and more that music, by its very essence, is not something that can flow inside a rigorous, traditional form.” On this episode of The Piano in France, host David Dubal explores Debussy’s later years and how his brilliantly creative and esoteric mind helped chart a course for 20th century music.

Dubal offers commentary not only on the music, but also the enigmatic and irascible man. He recounts one incident that captures the essence of Debussy’s personality: Marcel Proust adored Debussy and threw a party in his honor, however, the composer never arrived. Debussy later explained to Proust, “That’s the way I’m made.”

The program includes a recording of Debussy performing his “Serenade for a Doll,” as well as other vintage recordings from Vladimir Horowitz Walter Gieseking and Arturo Benedetti Michangeli.

Program playlist (all by Claude Debussy):

Serenade for the Doll
Claude Debussy, piano

Walter Gieseking, piano

Etude No. 11 Pour les arpegios composes
Vladimir Horowitz, piano

Hommage a Rameau
Arturo Benedetti Michelangelo, piano
BBC Legends

Pour le piano Suite, Prelude
Ivan Moravec, piano

Suite bergamesque, Prelude
William Kapell, piano
RCA Red Seal

Preludes, Book I, Le vent dans la plaine
Friedrich Gulda, piano

Preludes, Book I, Le vent dans la plaine
Claude Debussy, piano

Estampes, Soiree dans Grenade
Alexis Weissenberg, piano

L'isle joyeuse
Klara Wurtz, piano
Brilliant Classics