I am a faculty member of Manhattan School of Music's Precollege Division and have taught a class on Debussy for many years. Lederer's Debussy is thorough, yet concise (144 pages) and speaks of the man in an informed historical context and his music in suitably descriptive terms, which lend impressive perspective to the listener. The opening chapter on Debussy's influences (before the biography in Chapter 2) is a clear indication at the outset of the seriousness of this study. While not a theoretical analysis, Lederer's vivid accounting of Debussy's oeuvre accurately portray the composer's own theory about music as quoted below:
"Who will discover the secret of musical composition? The sound of the sea, the curve of the horizon, the wind in the leaves, the cry of a bird, register complex impressions within us. Then suddenly, without any deliberate consent on our part, one of these memories issues forth to express itself in the language of music. It bears its own harmony within it. By no effort of ours can we achieve anything more truthful or accurate. In this way only does a soul destined for music discover its most beautiful ideas." - - Claude Debussy (1911)
The inclusion of a CD makes this book an excellent value and a perfect volume for understanding how best to listen to and better understand this "quiet revolutionary."
One note on accuracy: On page 29, Lederer states "the opening flute melody" of Faune recurs, however, he fails to mention this melody is played by the oboe, overlooking an important change in orchestral color.