Clair de lune: Claude Debussy gets honoured with Google Doodle

To mark 151st anniversary of French composer's birth, an animation is set to Clair de lune, one of his best-known pieces

Google is celebrating the 151st anniversary of the birth of French composer Achille-Claude Debussy with an animated doodle set to one of his best-known pieces, Clair de lune (Moonlight).

The doodle features a moonlit riverside scene which progresses to the sound of the piece, the third movement of his most famous piano suites, Suite bergamasque (1890–1905). Lights in the streets and houses flicker on and off in time to the music as the silhouettes of cars, boats and cyclists pass by, smoke rises from chimneys and rain begins to fall.

The animation ends with two people in different boats crossing paths on the river and sharing a red umbrella.

Debussy's compositions are considered a seminal force in the music of the 20th century. He developed a system of harmony and musical structure that has been compared to the work of Impressionist and Symbolist painters. His style was reflected in his best known quote: "Music is the space between the notes."

His other major works include Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, 1894), the opera Pelléas et Mélisande (1902), and La Mer (The Sea, 1905).

Debussy was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, on 22 August 1862. In 1884, aged just 22, he won the Grand Prix de Rome with his cantata L'Enfant prodigue (The Prodigal Child).

He died of colon cancer at his home in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris on 25 March 1918 when he was only 55.

Guardian staff

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