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Debussy: The Quiet Revolutionary (Unlocking the Masters) (Unlocking the Masters Series) Paperback – 28 Jun 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Amadeus Press; Pap/Com edition (28 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574671537
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574671537
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 373,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Debussy's music, some of the greatest composed in the twentieth century, also ranks among the most challenging. His influence on other composers was enormous: Bartok, Stravinsky, Boulez, and Messaien, all freely acknowledged their debt to their groundbreaking predecessor. "Debussy" explores the extraordinary sophistication and refinement of Debussy's music, pointing out subtleties that otherwise could take years of listening to fully appreciate. Lederer shows how the composer developed his own unmistakable sound from a variety of musical inspirations, including folk, medieval, the musical languages of Spain and Java, as well as the 17th century French clavecinistes and his musica ancestor (and idol) Chopin.

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Good and useful book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plan to use Lederer's Debussy as textbook 20 July 2009
By James Noyes - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Debussy: The Quiet Revolutionary 24 May 2014
By Basson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Victor Lederer presents an easy to read overview of the life and works of Debussy. He highlights important aspects of Debussy's music I clearly defined chapters. His approach is descriptive rather than musically analytical. For anyone wanting a neat overview with stepwise illustrations of some of his works on a DG disc this is a fine introductory work. An entire chapter is devoted to his opera Pelleas and Melisande , in which he provides readers with useful background and illustrations of the libretto and the music. The same is done for orchestral and major piano works. I like his systematic articulate approach to the description of the subject matter. However on the negative side, his descriptions of the music are in the vein of the critic who uses florid language to describe the music - any one interested in the analysis of Debussy's music as regards form, harmony and structure will be disappointed. Overall a good buy for those who want a less challenging view of Debussy's work.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Distillation 14 Mar. 2009
By P. D. Schlicher - Published on
Format: Paperback
The first two chapters of this volume are alone worth the price of this book - having read a dozen books on Debussy, including the ones the author quotes throughout, this book is most worthy of praise. The author presents in succinct and concise terms the essence of Debussy's music itself - he brilliantly captures the very vitality of Debussy's musical idea or unique treatment fully stated in a very compact form. The CD included has many of the finest performances/interpretations available as well.

The balance of the book (majority of the volume) takes you through Debussy's catalog of works, with the author observing how these musical ideas are manifested - often including the "timing" on the CD where the reader/listener can follow along, replay, and examine closely. Debussy's musical treasures reveal themselves upon replaying, relistening - this gem of a book, rewards you even sooner.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His approach is perfect for any newcomer 9 Aug. 2007
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
Debussy's music ranks among the most challenging: his influence on other composers makes it essential to understand his approach, but typically music students find such analysis a daunting proposition. Not so Debussy: The Quiet Revolutionary, which pairs a cd of music with an analysis of the subtleties of his works and analyzing Debussy's approach and contributions. The author is a New York critic on music and culture: his approach is perfect for any newcomer to Debussy and is especially recommended for middle to high school students receiving a strong introduction on Debussy's art and achievement.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful series/book 10 April 2007
By LBWheels457 - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have some of the other books from this Unlocking the Masters series, and they are WONDERFUL!!! Not only are they factual and informative, but they are easy to read and really show you what to look/listen for in the music! It comes with a CD which has musical examples of pieces that are talked about in the book! This book is a wonderful tool for any student!
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