It has been a long while since I have listened to the beautiful music of the composer Claude Debussy.
Yes, that Debussy of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn (one of his most famous works, and very revolutionary for its time, Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune). His other works include, L’enfant prodigue (The Prodigal Son), which won Debussy the Prix de Rome, and his only opera, Pelléas and Mélisande, a reworking of Maurice Maeterlinck’s play.
Today, Google celebrates his 151ST birthday with a loving and delightful doodle which honors the late French composer with a cartoon of Paris, as the lights come up with antique vehicles being driven on the road, a man on an old-fashioned bicycle, two hot air balloons, and a windmill in the background. A steamboat is decked out in bright lights, as a man rows his boat upon the Seine River. The city is illuminated by the moon, with street lights, when it starts to rain and a man throws up his hands in despair, but to the rescue comes a woman with a gaily colored umbrella for the two of them. It is a tribute to Mr. Debussy’s best-known work Clair de Lune, which is French for “moonlight.”
While I write these words, outside, a lustrous moon shines bright.
Though many know only Clair de Lune, the piece is actually the third movement of Debussy’s piano suite Suite Berganmasque.
Interestingly, Clair de Lune was one of two classical recordings to go gold on the record charts. The first and second time a classical piece had ever sold 1 million copies. Both times occurred in the year 1945; Debussy’s Clair de Lune was one. The other was Federic Chopin’s Polonnaise in A-flat.
Clair de Lune is part of the soundtrack of so many movies.
Another favourite of mine from Debussy is heard on the soundtrack from John Carpenters’ movie Escape From New York. It is titled Engulfed Cathedral.
In honor of today, I present Debussy’s Clair de Lune.
Happy birthday, Claude.