Journal directory listing - Volume 31-41 (1986-1996) - Volume 34 (1989)

Explanation of the "Children’S Corner" of Debussy's Author: Chang Mei-fei


Claude Achille Debussy (1826-1918) was the forerunner of impressionism in music history. He opened a new world for piano music, his music created a new style in taste, color and movement. His works were unique masterpieces because we can feel a vagueness, transparency and exotic quality in them. Debussy was deeply affected by the writing of contemporary symbolist poets and also embodied the colorfulness and luniosity of contemporary impressionist paintings in his piano music. To understand Debussy's works, one needs a literary imagination in addition to music itself.
Debussy was constantly looking for new technique and new expressive modes, so his piano works are very enlightening both in technique and content. His piano works can be divided into three periods: 1888-90, 1901-07 and 1908-18. His technique and content were obviously different from one stage to another.
Debussy had a daughter named Chou Chou for whom he wrote this piano masterpiece, the Children's Corner. The most famous works in children's music include "Kinderszenen" Op. 15 by Schumann, "Dolly" op. 56 by Faure and "Ein Kinderscherz" by Mussorgsky. It is said that Debussy was inspired by Ein Kinders-cherz when he wrote the Children's Corner, but there is no resemblance either in form or content between these two pieces.
In Schumann, Faure and Mussorgsky's works the children's world is seen through adults' eyes. This piece is different because Debussy himself had a child's heart, he lived in children's instinctive world and reflected the world felt by children in his music. He travelled in the imaginative music world with his lovely daughter. Debussy's humor, lighthearted vidicule and clever metaphors can be clearly heard in the Children's Corner.

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