Claude Debussy


An intimate biography of this innovative and troubled composer.


Paul Roberts


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In this revealing biography Paul Roberts seeks to penetrate the enigma of Claude Debussy (1862–1918), whose personal life was the subject of malicious gossip and (occasionally substantiated) rumour, echoes of which persist to the present day. Through the discussion of letters, contemporary accounts, photographs and of course the music, Debussy’s fiercely guarded personality begins to emerge and we encounter a complex and contradictory character, one who combined indulgent sensuality with iron self-discipline, tenderness with cruelty, ebullient extroversion with gauche shyness, and a passionate conviction in his ideas with insecurity and self-doubt. A wide variety of images and rarely seen documents enhance the narrative to give an absorbing portrait of this pioneering composer’s troubled life.



SPECIFICATIONS:

Format: Paperback
Size: 220 x 156 mm (8 5/8 x 6 1/8 in)
Pages: 240 pp
Illustrations: 80 illustrations
ISBN: 9780714835129

Paul Roberts combines concert pianism, writing and teaching in a career that takes him all over the world. He has recorded several discs of Debussy’s piano music to wide critical acclaim, a DVD on Debussy’s Preludes (Amadeus Press, 2006) and is the author of Images: The Piano Music of Claude Debussy. A book on Ravel, Reflections, is in preparation. He is an honorary fellow of London’s Guildhall School of Music & Drama, visiting professor at the Royal Northern College of Music, and director of the piano summer school near Toulouse, France, Music at Castelfranc.

"Roberts […] is a distinguished interpreter… An intimate portrait that takes us nearer to the heart of the music than any biography before… With copious quotes from the composer's letters and articles, Roberts charts the unstoppable evolution of his subtly revolutionary art – designed… but defining the course of Western music."—Michael Church, The Independent

"Incisive… Roberts meets the challenge of both person and music with empathy and acumen… As for the composer's writings […], here again Roberts is both sharp and sensible… Generous quotations from letters and memoirs support this elegantly written volume."—Roger Nichols, BBC Music Magazine

"Excellent design... Lavish illustrations... Roberts shows virtuosity in putting Debussy's music as a whole in the context of the man. So well does Roberts capture the unconventionality of the man [...] that descriptions of the revolutionary nature of the music seem nothing but natural."—Andrew Green, Piano

"it's no surprise that each book is beautifully produced on shiny thick paper and filled with gorgeous illustrations. The texts are excellent too."—Pittsburgh, PA Post Gazette

On the 20th Century Composers Series

"As a series, Phaidon's 20th Century Composers has brought remarkable variety and a welter of information, both necessary and delightfully trivial. Intended both for the general reader and for the more enthusiastically musical."—The Scotsman

"Roberts […] is a distinguished interpreter… An intimate portrait that takes us nearer to the heart of the music than any biography before… With copious quotes from the composer's letters and articles, Roberts charts the unstoppable evolution of his subtly revolutionary art – designed… but defining the course of Western music."—Michael Church, The Independent

"Incisive… Roberts meets the challenge of both person and music with empathy and acumen… As for the composer's writings […], here again Roberts is both sharp and sensible… Generous quotations from letters and memoirs support this elegantly written volume."—Roger Nichols, BBC Music Magazine

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