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Classical Notes: August 20, 2012 Archive

Postcards from Debussy: Day 1

Posted at 5:50 AM on August 20, 2012 by John Birge (0 Comments)

Inspired by Debussy's 150th birthday anniversary Tomorrow, every morning at 8:30, we'll play a composition by Debussy inspired by some specific place.

Today, it's a piece titled Danse and subtitled Styrian Tarantella. It was written in 1890 after Debussy returned from Villa Medici, Italy, where he had spent two years studying as part of winning the the Prix de Rome in 1883.

The title shifts the traditionally Italian tarantella to Austria, specifically the region called Styria. You may not know Styria, but you probably know its most famous sons, who grew up to become, among other things, Governor of California:

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Styria was also the birthplace of Johann Puch, founder of the company Steier-Puch, famous for its motorcycles, trucks, and rugged little off-road vehicles that these days we call ATV's.

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Debussy and art

Posted at 10:57 AM on August 20, 2012 by Alison Young (0 Comments)

Claude Debussy did not appreciate being referred to as an impressionist composer. In 1908 he effectively said knock it off!

"I am trying to do 'something different'- in a way realities- what the imbeciles call `impressionism' is a term which is as poorly used as possible, particularly by art critics."

This painting was made when Debussy was eight years old in 1870. If you look at it while listening to his Nocturnes, I think you might hear the music completely differently!

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Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot "The Wounded Eurydice" - Minneapolis Institute of Art


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Postcards from Debussy: Day 2

Posted at 10:07 PM on August 20, 2012 by John Birge (0 Comments)

Inspired by Debussy's 150th birthday anniversary this week, every morning at 8:30 we'll play a composition by Debussy inspired by some specific place.

Today it's his piano prelude called "The Hills of Anacapri."

Capri is an island in the Bay of Naples off the tip of the Sorrento Peninsula. It's famous for its gorgeous scenery, delightful climate, and luxurious vegetation. There are two small towns on the island, Capri and Anacapri. Some say that Debussy's title actually came from the label on a bottle of wine. But that won't keep us from taking a tour.
First, listen to Debussy's music, then take a guided tour:

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