Google Doodle celebrates influential composer Claude Debussy with Clair de lune sequence

The works of Achille-Claude Debussy were considered a seminal force in the classical music of the 20th Century

Rob Williams
Thursday 22 August 2013 11:36 BST

Google has marked the 151st anniversary of the birth of French composer Claude Debussy with a musical doodle.

The works of Achille-Claude Debussy were considered a seminal force in the classical music of the 20th Century.

His highly influential and original system of harmony and musical structure made him one of the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music.

Debussy was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, 22 August 1862, the eldest of five children. His father owned a shop that sold crockery and his mother was a seamstress.

By the age of nine the young Debussy was already showing promise as a pianist.

He was encouraged in his studies by Madame Mauté de Fleurville, who claimed to have studied with Polish composer Frédéric Chopin.

In 1873 he entered the Paris Conservatory where he studied piano and composition.

In 1884, at just 22 years of age, he won the Grand Prix de Rome with his cantata L’Enfant prodigue (The Prodigal Child).

The compositions of the middle period of his life were heavily influenced by the work of the German composer Richard Wagner. This is particularly notable in in La damoiselle élue and the 1889 piece Cinq poèmes de Charles Baudelaire.

Debussy died of rectal cancer at his Paris home on 25 March 1918.

The Google Doodle marking his birth features a moonlight riverside scene with flashing streets lights, a windmill and various vehicles including boats, bicycles, cars and balloons.

Street lights and puffs of smoke are timed to sequence with the emotive sound of Clair de lune in the background. As the scene progresses rain begins to fall on the river. The sequence ends with two people in different boats sharing a red umbrella.

Comments on social media would appear to indicate that this has been one of Google's most well received doodles with the moving sequence which accompanies Clair de lune drawing wide praise.

Is it perhaps, as some have suggested, the best doodle to date?

Click on the gallery above to see a collection of recent Google Doodles

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