Claude Debussy

An intimate biography of this innovative and troubled composer.

Paul Roberts


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About the book

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.


About the author(s)

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.

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