This new book on Debussy’s music comprises analytical studies of individual works not widely examined previously, including the Fantaisie for piano and orchestra, La demoiselle élue, Nuages, and Gigues. A discussion of the tonal structure of the first movement of La mer finds new relevance in the overused term symphonic in relation to Debussy’s position in the history of French orchestral music. An extensive essay documents Debussy's aural images in his propensity for recycling his own musical ideas and quoting the music of other composers. A final lighthearted chapter, Debussy and Ravel: How to Tell Them Apart, systematically addresses this century-old critics’ conundrum.
Composer and writer, taught at Reed College, the University of New Hampshire, and for 19 years at Tufts University before his retirement in 2000. An expert on harmony in the 20th century, he has written extensively on the music of Alban Berg and Claude Debussy (Debussy and the Veil of Tonality: Essays On His Music, Pendragon Press, 2004), and edited the revised 4th and 5th editions of Walter Piston’s Harmony, an essential textbook. He lives in Medford, Massachusetts.