Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

The assemblage of public writings by Maurice Ravel includes 28 articles, 18 of which date from before 1914; 16 open letters, rights of reply, manifestos, advertising, and petitions; 80 interviews or accounts of interviews, many of which were published outside of France, responses to inquiries, and homages.

A very small number of manuscripts of these writings survives; one article in the private archives of Jules Écorcheville, one article in the Glinka Museum in Moscow, one open letter in the private collection of Éric Van Lauwe.

These writings begin in 1896 with an homage to Saint-Saëns, and they finish in 1933 with an article on the aspirations of young composers. The silence of Ravel’s final years is explained by his incurable neurological malady.

Ravel expressed himself publicly relatively little, speaking more willingly about the music of others than his own. Apart from his discretion and his unfeigned modesty, he did not deem it necessary to talk about his art: “I have never felt the need to formulate, whether for others or for myself, the principles of my esthetic” (Esquisse autobiographque, 1928). Focusing on composition, he declined several offers to collaborate on periodicals. He even swore never to publish again in Le Courrier musical, upset about an article he had written on Chopin in 1910 that was distorted by editing. Ravel always maintained a certain mistrust toward the press, deeming that his words were often misquoted. In fact, three dubious interviews, two of which are surely apocryphal, have no place in the body of writings.

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birth year1875
death year1937
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Publications (119)

119 results


119 results