Debussy was the first great composer of the twentieth century. He departed from previous musical practice to a greater extent than any previous composer. Though he completed his masterpieces Prelude to Afternoon of a Faun and the triptych Nocturnes before the turn of the century, it was not until 1902 that Debussy received widespread recognition. His symphonic seascape La Mer, which was met with great criticism on its first performance in 1905, is now upheld as the foremost musical depiction of the sea and Debussy's most celebrated orchestral composition.
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