How Did Richard Wagner Influence Claude Debussy

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Richard Wagner’s Influence on Claude Debussy The influence of Richard Wagner (1813-1883) in Europe was nearly inescapable, affecting both those musicians and composers who praised his music and those who rejected it. France was a country that tried to resist Wagner’s influence but ultimately failed because his music was so revolutionary. Even some of France’s finest composers were early Wagnerians such as Claude Debussy (1862-1918). Claude Debussy was a stout Wagnerian earlier in his life but he later changed his view to a more anti-Wagnerian one. I argue that while Debussy resisted Wagner’s theory of opera, his use of the orchestra, and his operatic practice, we can still see Wagner’s influence on Pélleas et Mélisande through the similarities of the opera’s plot line, the use of symbolism, and symphonic developments. I will discover the reasons behind these questions by researching various books, journal articles and scores to find out the…show more content…
Tristan und Isolde deals with two lovers that cannot seem to get enough of each other while Pélleas et Mélisande deals with loneliness and despair. Both operas seem to pay little or no attention to the outside world and mainly focus on the story between the lovers. The moment at the end of Act I in Tristan und Isolde where the lovers discover their passion for each other, the sailor’s chorus in the background seems to die down because Wagner put the emphasis of the opera’s storyline between Tristan and Isolde’s passion. Even though this happens within a fictional story, love does have this effect on people in the real world. This is similar to Pélleas et Mélisande because when Mélisande dies, the opera focuses on Pélleas’ loneliness and isolation to convey how lonely he really felt. It is interesting to see that even though both operas have different plot lines, they are still able to be compared relatively
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