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Normally, job applications tend to involve a lot of CV-massaging and begging letters. Perhaps not realising that he was dealing with one of the great musical geniuses of the time, the Margrave didn't even bother to get back in touch with Bach. However, none of them managed to eclipse their father in terms of popularity.

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One of Bach's most enduring works, his Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, has been tackled by a huge range of pop musicians in recent years. From John Williams' fusion rock band Sky covering the piece to indie rock band Muse subtly turning the main melody into a guitar riff on their song 'Plug In Baby', it seems Bach's influence stretches far and wide…. Discover Music. See more Bach Album Reviews. Bach: Compositions, children, biography and more facts about the great composer. When is Bach's birthday?

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Bach's children The image of Bach as a virile family-man is no myth - he managed to sire an astonishing 20 children in his lifetime though they didn't all survive into adulthood. Bach's family As with many things in Bach's life, family was everything. How do you pronounce Bach's name? Bach's name is pronounced with a soft 'ch', as in 'loch'. Bach's compositions In his lifetime 65 years , Bach composed an incredible pieces of music.

Musical numbers in Bach's works Bach was fond of incorporating the numbers 14 and 41 into his musical works, because they were derived from the mystical numerology values of the letters in his own name. Bach's keyboard duel with Louis Marchand Every inch the thrusting young man, JS Bach once challenged fellow harpsichord wizard Louis Marchand to a keyboard duel in Bach in prison Career-wise, it wasn't always plain sailing for JS Bach.

The Coffee Cantata Though he was more famous for writing sacred pieces, the occasional secular gem showed Bach to be a humorous and inventive chap. Bach's music in films Cinematic portrayals of the Bach family are few and far between, but perhaps the most interesting one comes from Bach's wife Bach married his second cousin Maria in Bach's death Everyone knows that Beethoven suffered with his hearing, but not so many people are aware that Bach struggled terribly with his eyesight.

Bach popular thanks to Mendelssohn It seems almost bizarre to suggest that Bach was not especially popular using his lifetime, but particularly towards the end of his life he was seen as a bit of a dinosaur. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos: a musical job application Normally, job applications tend to involve a lot of CV-massaging and begging letters.

Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor - rock classic? Bach News See more Bach News. Bach Music See more Bach Music. Bach Pictures See more Bach Pictures. The pieces he played in public at this time included sonata movements by Beethoven, Schumann and Weber; and Chopin—the Ballade No. During the summers of , , and Debussy accompanied the wealthy patroness of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Nadezhda von Meck, as she travelled with her family in Europe. Not a single idea is expressed fully, the form is terribly shriveled, and it lacks unity.

She and her husband, Henri, gave Debussy emotional and professional support. Henri Vasnier introduced him to the writings of influential French writers of the time, which gave rise to his first songs, settings of poems by Paul Verlaine, the son-in-law of his former teacher, Mme. Neither did he delight in Italian opera, as he found the operas of Donizetti and Verdi not to his taste.

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Debussy was often depressed and unable to compose, but he was inspired by Franz Liszt, whose command of the keyboard he found admirable. But there is no help for it! I am too enamoured of my freedom, too fond of my own ideas! During his visits to Bayreuth in —9, Debussy was exposed to Wagnerian opera, which had a lasting impact on his work.

Around this time, Debussy met Erik Satie, who proved a kindred spirit in his experimental approach to composition and to naming his pieces.

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During this period, both musicians were bohemians enjoying the same cafe society and struggling to stay afloat financially. He incorporated gamelan scales, melodies, rhythms, and ensemble textures into some of his compositions, most notably Pagodes from his piano collection Estampes. At the age of 18 he began an eight-year affair with Marie-Blanche Vasnier, wife of a Parisian civil servant.

The relationship eventually faltered following his winning of the Prix de Rome in and obligatory residence in Rome. Such cavalier behaviour was widely condemned, and precipitated the end of his long friendship with Ernest Chausson.

Moreover, her looks had prematurely aged, and she was unable to bear children. In contrast to Texier, Bardac was a sophisticate, a brilliant conversationalist, and an accomplished singer.

Early years

On their return to France, Debussy wrote to Texier from Dieppe on 11 August, informing her their marriage was over, but still making no mention of Bardac. Debussy briefly moved to an apartment at 10 avenue Alphand. On 14 October, five days before their fifth wedding anniversary, Texier attempted suicide, shooting herself in the chest with a revolver while standing in the Place de la Concorde; she survived, although the bullet remained lodged in her vertebrae for the rest of her life. The ensuing scandal was to alienate Debussy from many of his friends, whilst Bardac was disowned by her family.

In the spring of , finding the hostility towards them intolerable, Debussy and Bardac now pregnant fled to England, via Jersey. After a brief visit to London, the couple returned to Paris in September, buying a house in a courtyard development off the Avenue du Bois de Boulogne now Avenue Foch , where Debussy was to reside for the rest of his life. He loved his music — and perhaps himself.

I think he was wrapped up in his genius… He was a very, very strange man.


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Claude-Emma outlived her father by scarcely a year, succumbing to the diphtheria epidemic of after her doctor administered the wrong treatment. The military situation in France was critical, and did not permit the honour of a public funeral with ceremonious graveside orations. One side argues that the term is a misnomer, an inappropriate label which Debussy himself opposed.

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It can be argued that he would have been pleased with application of the current definition of Impressionism to his music. In contrast to the enormous works of Wagner and other late-romantic composers, however, around this time Debussy chose to write in smaller, more accessible forms. Suite bergamasque recalls rococo decorousness with a modern cynicism and puzzlement. In this work he used the Phrygian mode as well as less standard scales, such as the whole-tone, which creates a sense of floating, ethereal harmony. Debussy was beginning to employ a single, continuous theme and break away from the traditional A-B-A form, with its restatements and amplifications, which had been a mainstay of classical music since Haydn.

In contrast to the large orchestras so favoured by late-romanticism, Debussy wrote this piece for a smaller ensemble, emphasizing instrumental colour and timbre. It would be his only complete opera. Based on the play by Maurice Maeterlinck, the opera proved to be an immediate success and immensely influential to younger French composers, including Maurice Ravel. These works brought a fluidity of rhythm and colour quite new to Western music.

La mer — essays a more symphonic form, with a finale that works themes from the first movement, although the middle movement, Jeux de vagues , proceeds much less directly and with more variety of colour. Again, the reviews were sharply divided. Some critics thought the treatment to be less subtle and less mysterious than his previous works and even a step backward. During this period Debussy wrote much for the piano. The set of pieces entitled Pour le piano uses rich harmonies and textures which would later prove important in jazz music.


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The evocative Estampes for piano give impressions of exotic locations. Debussy came into contact with Javanese gamelan music during the Paris Exposition Universelle. Pagodes is the directly inspired result, aiming for an evocation of the pentatonic structures employed by the Javanese music. The Preludes are frequently compared to those of Chopin. Debussy wanted people to respond intuitively to these pieces so he placed the titles at the end of each one in the hope that listeners would not make stereotype images as they listened. A lush and dramatic work, written in only two months, it is remarkable in sustaining a late antique modal atmosphere that otherwise was touched only in relatively short piano pieces.

He was also an occasional music critic to supplement his conducting fees and piano lessons. Unlike in his earlier work, he no longer hides discords in lush harmonies. The forms are far more irregular and fragmented. With the sonatas of —, there is a sudden shift in the style. Despite the thinner textures of the Violin Sonata there remains an undeniable richness in the chords themselves.

Debussy planned a set of six sonatas, but this plan was cut short by his death in so that he only completed three cello, flute-viola-harp and violin sonatas. He uses scales such as the whole tone scale, musical modes, and the octatonic scale in his preludes that exaggerate this tonal ambiguity, making the key of each prelude almost indistinguishable at times.