Today we are going to look at two very different composers. One is thought of symphonic and uses a lot of folk music. He wrote for every instrument, for opera, for piano, for theater, and more. One is a composer for band or wind ensemble and uses a whole lot of different techniques.
Claude Debussy is a French composer from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. He is considered an impressionist composer and utilized a lot of the early 20th century composition ideas. As a young boy, Debussy was showing interest and talent as a pianist. He studied piano and attended the Paris Conservatory, winning several prizes, including the Grand Prix de Rome.
Claire de Lune is an early piece by Debussy that many are familiar with. It is indicative of the use of folk music and rich harmony, evoking emotion. Much of Debussy’s music is in the Impressionist style, meaning it is intended to be poetic and picturesque. This type of music is intended to help the mind create images from the music.
One of my favorites of Debussy is Le Mer. This piece of music is for orchestra but invokes the mood of the sea, with beautiful musical pictures drawn.
Debussy was influences by visual artists, particularly the Impressionist painters. He was also widely influenced by composers such as German Wagner and Russians Borodin and Mussorgsky.
And one more fun piece to listen to by Debussy – Golliwog’s Cakewalk
Some websites to check out about Debussy:
If you are a fan of the JRR Tolkein books, you should really enjoy this next composer. Johan de Meij has written a fabulous piece for wind ensemble (band) based off of the Lord of The Rings. de Meij is a Dutch composer born in 1953. He studied trombone and conducting at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He is a performer with both trombone and euphonium. However, he has gained international fame for his composing and conducting.
Symphony No. 1 “The Lord of the Rings” is where he gained his first international recognition and won prizes for it. He has since gone on to additional writing and fame with symphonies, symphonic poems, and solo concertos.
By far, my favorite is his writing Symphony No 1. Our college ensemble was privileged to play it within a few years of it coming out and it has been a favorite of mine since. It is a joy to play and a joy to listen to. I will link the movements of it below. There are 5 movements and these are performed by The United States Marine Band, conducted for this performance by Johan de Meij.
For more information on de Meij, you can visit these sites. He is a living composer so his biographies are not quite as extensive as other composers you might be exposed to.
Lori, At Home.