Join Daniel Weiser for another fun Zoom course on the life and music of the great French composer, Claude Debussy.  Like Chopin, he expanded the possibilities of the piano by the use of new pedal techniques that helped to blur harmonies and set up a hazier, atmospheric sound akin to the Impressionist paintings that surrounded him.  He also discovered new scales from Java and Japan the evoked a more exotic and ambiguous sound that was not beholden to traditional tonality that had centered on a forward and linear progression of harmonies.   Debussy was a true radical in music who told his professors at the Paris Conservatoire:  “I love music passionately.  And because I love it I try to free it from barren traditions that stifle it.”  He also began to explore silence and rests in music to a much greater extent, exclaiming once that “Music is the silence between the notes.”

This course will also examine some of Debussy’s precursors and colleagues in France, including Emmanuel Chabrier, Gabriel Faure, and Erik Satie who all influenced Debussy’s sound and aesthetic as well as his relationship with painters such as Monet and poets like Mallarme that helped open new vistas of sounds linked to Impressionism and Symbolism, two artistic movements that dominated the French scene at the end of the 19th century.  We will also see how Debussy was fascinated with the new American sounds of Ragtime and early Jazz and how he began to use the syncopations and energy of that music to add more spice to his own in the early part of the 20th century.

This course will run for four Wednesdays on Zoom from 10:00-12:00Feb. 28. March 6, March 20, and March 27 (we will take off March 13 as I will be in Florida that week).  Anyone who cannot be at a single meeting or all the meetings can also register for the course and I will send recordings after each class so you can watch them at your own pace.   Please feel free to share information about this course to any friends in the U.S. (or internationally) who you think might be interested.