Today’s Google logo is a melodic and artful animated illustration to honor French composer Claude Debussy on the occasion of his 151st birthday. Set to the tune of Debussy’s popular Clair de Lune, the logo depicts a riverside scene on a moonlit night as silhouettes of cars, bicycles, steamboats, and row boats pass by.
Born August 22, 1862, Debussy’s piano talents earned him a spot in the Paris Conservatory at the age of eleven. By 22, he was attending the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Rome on scholarship after winning the 1884 Prix de Rome with his composition L’enfant Prodigue. During his time at the French academy in Rome, he studied German composer Richard Wagner, focusing on Wagner’s opera Tristan and Isolde.
Debussy would go on to earn recognition with his own opera Pelléas et Mélisande, composed in 1895. Other famous works by Debussy include La Mer, Ibéria, Images and Children’s Corner Suite. The classic Clair de Lune was written in 1890, but was not published until 1905 as part of the Suite Bergamasque, a collection of four movements: 1. Prélude, 2. Menuet, 3. Clair de Lune and 4. Passepied.
While his compositions became known as part of the Impressionist music movement, Debussy remains a musical legend and one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. He died March 25, 1918, suffering complications from colon cancer.
With the French translation for Clair de Lune meaning moonlight, Google’s choice to feature the classic is an appropriate selection to mark not only Debussy’s birthday, but also the Blue Moon that appeared in the skies earlier this week, a seasonal Blue Moon that was last seen in November of 2010.