Claude Debussy, born on August 22nd 1862 in St.-Germain-en-Laye, was first a glowing admirer of Richard Wagner, but soon turned away from the German musical tradition to develop a French national musical idiom. The style he arrived at was called "impressionism" because of its concentration on mood. At the beginning of the 20th century it had become the absolute essence of French music. Debussy's compositions are certainly replete with shimmering, soaring tonal color, a multi-layered, yet always tonal harmonic structure and extremely refined dynamics. Besides his ballets and atmospheric, tone-painting orchestral music, Debussy was primarily known for his piano compositions.