Talk:Maurice Ravel

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Nature of Ravel's association with Ralph Vaughan Williams[edit]

It seems to be the received wisdom that V-W was one of Ravel's few students. I've always believed this was the case. However, I've just been browsing through Webster's New World Dictionary of Music (1998) - this is a cut-down version of Nicolas Slonimsky's Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (8th edition), with updates and amendements by Richard Kassel. I've owned a copy for years, but have never read it from cover to cover and am always finding new revelations.

Ravel's article says: "... accepted virtually no pupils, but gave friendly advice to Vaughan Williams, Gershwin and others".

V-W's article says: "Dissatisfied with his academic studies, he decided to seek advice from Ravel in Paris to acquire the technique of modern coloristic orchestration".

I'm usually prepared to believe Slonimsky where he diverges from other writers on music. He's saying V-W sought and received "advice" from Ravel, and specifically denies that Ravel had any [formal] pupils (although that's qualified with "virtually", which leaves the door open for a very small number, maybe only one).

On the other hand, Grove V says: "The list of Ravel's pupils, and of the composers who received advice from him, is given by Roland-Manuel in his invaluable book of 1928 as follows: Maurice Delage, Roland-Manuel, Manuel Rosenthal, Vaughan Williams, Maurice Fouret, Nikolay Obukov [sic], Louis Durey, Germaine Tailleferre, Lennox Berkeley". Unfortunately, it doesn't specify which were his [formal] pupils and which merely "received advice" from him.

Maurice Fouret seems to have been forgotten by history – all I can find out about him is that he wrote an opera "La Belle De Haguenau". We definitely need an article on Nikolai Obukhov (1892-1954).

Being a cut-down version (613 pages), Webster's doesn't have articles on every person that appears in Baker's, and Delage, Rosenthal and Vlado Perlemuter - the people we say were Ravel's students - are excluded, so I can't cross-check. I don't have access to Baker's 8th, unfortunately.

Maybe this is merely focussing on the semantic difference between "studied with" and "was a student of". I suppose one could do the former without necessarily formally doing the latter. If one sits down with another person and receives "advice" from them, does this constitute "studying with" them? I can't imagine much advice about "the technique of modern coloristic orchestration" could be conveyed during a half-hour chat over a cup of coffee - a more substantial and intensive association would have been required between the two men, and that would probably be regarded as V-W having "studied with" Ravel. But if we say that X "studied with" Y, this could suggest a period of months or years of formal study, when in fact it may have been as short as a handful of meetings, and informal meetings at that. This seems to suggest there's scope for misleading our readers if we're not careful with our wording.

I'd welcome any comments people might have on these issues. -- JackofOz (talk) 00:19, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Personally, I would not use Grove V for much of anything anymore. It's something like 50 years out of date, and the standard of scholarship in the Sadie versions is far higher. I also have a feeling (completely unsubstantiated) that many of the Ravel biographies are rather unreliable. But I am no Ravelm expert by any means. --Wspencer11 (talk to me...) 22:26, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Considering that lesser pianists have been known to claim to have "studied with" this or that "immortal" based on a master class or two, I would say that you've uncovered a significant instance of semantic waffling. (Note that I'm not suggesting *RVW* ever engaged in any dissimulation, only that "studied with" can cover an awfully broad range and that others might well have inflated matters.) "Advice" might not have come over tea and scones, or whatever, but it could well have constituted informal interactions along the lines of "I've been working on something and would like you to look at it and offer suggestions; mind if I drop by for a couple of hours?" In other words, I think you've hit on something suggesting that conventional wisdom may have been reading far too much into the actual record and that further investigation is definitely warranted. Thanks for raising this issue! Drhoehl (talk) 20:25, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm quite new to all this and have only just read your comments. RVW did study with Ravel. He intended to approach d'Indy first, but M. D. Calvocoressi introduced him to Ravel, whom he met on December 12th, 1907. As a result, RVW stayed for three months in Paris, having lessons 4-5 times a week - mainly orchestration. After RVW had returned to England, Ravel tried unsuccessfully to secure a Paris performance of In the Fen Country - the work of "a pupil of whom I am proud". This is all detailed, with letters and references, in "R.V.W." by Ursula Vaughan Williams [OUP 1964].Willowmusic (talk) 23:55, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Belatedly, thank you. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 00:42, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

Ravel research on 'Frontispice' of 1918.[edit]

Anyone with information, please help. 'Frontispice' was first published in the Paris fashion magazine 'Feuillets d'art" of August 1919. Ravel's publishers, Durand et Cie, had sole publishing rights. I am informed that they took legal action and had this magazine removed from circulation because of this infringement. I have contacted the present owners of Durand et Fils, who say all old records are with the central Paris Library. And the Library informs me that their documents of this period have been destroyed. In any case, Frontispice seems to have been eventually officially published in 1975. The composition was little known before this. Even the British Museum only received their original Frontispice copy in 1959, and few musicologists of that era were aware of its existence. A number of todays researchers of 'Ravel' with whom I have been in contact have not been able to shed light on this subject.

Probably the best source on this curious little piece in English is Deborah Mawer's essay, “Musical Objects and Machines”, in The Cambridge Companion to Ravel, edited by Deborah Mawer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 47–70. There is a short paragraph describing its metrical arrangement in the Wikipedia article on Quintuple meter. I hope this helps.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:55, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Infobox was reverted[edit]

Hello. I tried to add to add an infobox to add clarity to the layout of the page, but it was reverted. I hope someone reverts the reversion, just to make the page look less bad. I think it would be a waste of time for me to argue about this, so I will let others decide. Thank you.Zigzig20s (talk) 00:38, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

You haven't read the item I tried to call your attention to (after you failed to read the very polite note immediately below which you placed your infobox, which also asked you to read it). Will you look at it now, please? Here it is again, for the third time: Wikipedia:WikiProject_Classical_music/Guidelines#Biographical_infoboxes.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:41, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
Forgive me - I've just updated that link re "Biographical infoboxes", both in JK's post and in the article itself, as it appeared to have been moved since the notice was originally posted in the article. Alfietucker (talk) 07:57, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, but why should you ask forgiveness for rendering a service? I would like also to note that this topic was discussed, briefly, once before on this talk page.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 17:18, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Charles-René[edit]

This appears to be the person born Charles-Olivier-René Bibard. No English WP article as yet. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 00:38, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

Thank you, Jack. I'll put him on my list, after polishing my schoolboy German (to coin a phrase). Tim riley talk 07:56, 1 May 2015 (UTC)