If any composer could be described as an impressionist, it might certainly be Claude Debussy. But if any composer were ever averse to that description, it would also be Debussy. In his own words: “I’m trying to do ‘something different’ – a type of reality – which imbeciles call ‘impressionism’.” However, consciously or otherwise, impressionism occupied him, in the sense of compositions that offered an impression rather than a clear image. This started with the reputation gained by his symphonic poem Prélude a l’après-midi d’un faune, which drew its inspiration from a poem by the symbolist writer Stéphane Mallarmé, a subject also used by the impressionist painter Edouard Monet for one of his paintings. In Pelléas et Mélisande (1902), he even succeeded in writing an entire impressionistic opera. His most famous orchestral work however was undoubtedly La Mer, written between 1903 and 1905.