Ravel

Ravel

by Roger Nichols
     
 

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This new biography of Maurice Ravel (1875–1937), by one of the leading scholars of nineteenth- and twentieth-century French music, is based on a wealth of written and oral evidence, some newly translated and some derived from interviews with the composer’s friends and associates. As well as describing the circumstances in which Ravel composed, the book

Overview

This new biography of Maurice Ravel (1875–1937), by one of the leading scholars of nineteenth- and twentieth-century French music, is based on a wealth of written and oral evidence, some newly translated and some derived from interviews with the composer’s friends and associates. As well as describing the circumstances in which Ravel composed, the book explores new evidence to present radical views of the composer’s background and upbringing, his notorious failure in the Prix de Rome, his incisive and often combative character, his sexual preferences, and his long final illness. It also contains the most detailed account so far published of his hugely successful American tour of 1928. The world of Maurice Ravel—including friendships (and some fallings-out) with Debussy, Fauré, Diaghilev, Gershwin, and Toscanini—is deftly uncovered in this sensitive portrait.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Review of Books
An excellent new biography of Ravel by Roger Nichols makes clear his ambiguous and fluctuating relation to full-fledged avant-garde modernism. The book is the most nearly complete and inclusive account of his life and work.—Charles Rosen, The New York Review of Books

— Charles Rosen

The New Criterion
Mr. Nichols writes perceptively about Ravel's personality and how it shaped his music, and about the earlier works' influence on later compositions. . . . One leaves Mr. Nichols's Ravel with a sense of the author's deep insight as well as Ravel's.—James Penrose, The New Criterion

— James Penrose

Times Literary Supplement
[An] insightful biography.—Michael Downes, Times Literary Supplement

— Michael Downes

SymphonyNOW
Nichols . . . enriches our understanding of [a] compositional titan.—Chester Lane, SymphonyNOW

— Chester Lane

The Sunday Telegraph
A quite superb book, simply entitled Ravel, written by the Englishmen who knows his work better than any other, Roger Nichols.—Simon Heffer, The Sunday Telegraph

— Simon Heffer

Choice
Includes exhaustive notes, a ten-page bibliography, a superb chronology of Ravel's life, and a complete catalog of his works. Highly recommended.—R. Pitts, Choice

— R. Pitts

New Statesman
reliable and agreeably readable.—Norman Lebrecht, New Statesman

— Norman Lebrecht

Literary Review
To anyone with a special interest in Ravel, this book will be essential reading…Surely the composer’s most comprehensive and authoritative English-language biography.—Daniel Snowman, Literary Review

— Daniel Snowman

BBC Music Magazine
A compelling new biography unravels the mysteries surrounding Ravel…..Mysterious to the end, the fascination of its subject remains fresh throughout this thorough and sympathetic account.—Robert Maycock, BBC Music Magazine

— Robert Maycock

Classical Music
Roger Nichols’ volume on Ravel in the Master Musicians series dates from 1977, but this new book is far more than a mere reworking. The availability of much new material has led to a threefold expansion of the original, beautifully produced and very reasonably priced…..One could hardly wish for a more authoritative guide to Ravel.—Philip Borg-Wheeler, Classical Music

— Philip Borg-Wheeler

The Tablet
…..a major work of scholarship by a leading authority on French repertoire, bristling with insight, interest and authority.—Michael White, The Tablet

— Michael White

Classic FM Magazine
Although little is known about Ravel’s private life – usually the key area of interest for non-academics – Roger Nichols has produced an exceptionally comprehensive work. He attaches himself fully to his subject, weaving the successes, failures and travels with illuminating trivia.—Anna Britten, Classic FM Magazine

— Anna Britten

Opera
There is no more thoroughly researched study of the life of Maurice Ravel than this latest, and best, of Roger Nichols’s several books on French music. No clue remains unexplored, no publication or personal reminiscence not taken into account.—Gerald Larner, Opera

— Gerald Larner

International Record Review
This biography is manifestly a labour of love…..But it is very much more than that. Full of generous insights into both the man and his music, most elegantly written, a monument of clarity in exposition and structure, deeply scholarly yet at the same time eminently accessible to the non-specialist, it is surely destined to remain the last word on Maurice Ravel, in any language, for a long time to come. Buy now while stocks last!—Piers Burton-Page, International Record Review

— Piers Burton-Page

American Conservative
Ravel could not have hoped to be evaluated by a more elegant stylist.—R. J. Stove, American Conservative

— R.J. Stove

International Piano
This new book about the life and works of Ravel follows Nichols useful Ravel Remembered (Faber) scrutinising facts and compositions with lapidary attention…..Nichols is an invaluably thorough guide—Benjamin Ivry, International Piano

— Benjamin Ivry

The New York Review of Books - Charles Rosen
"An excellent new biography of Ravel by Roger Nichols makes clear his ambiguous and fluctuating relation to full-fledged avant-garde modernism. The book is the most nearly complete and inclusive account of his life and work."—Charles Rosen, The New York Review of Books
The New Criterion - James Penrose
"Mr. Nichols writes perceptively about Ravel's personality and how it shaped his music, and about the earlier works' influence on later compositions. . . . One leaves Mr. Nichols's Ravel with a sense of the author's deep insight as well as Ravel's."—James Penrose, The New Criterion
Times Literary Supplement - Michael Downes
"[An] insightful biography."—Michael Downes, Times Literary Supplement
SymphonyNOW - Chester Lane
“Nichols . . . enriches our understanding of [a] compositional titan.”—Chester Lane, SymphonyNOW
The Sunday Telegraph - Simon Heffer
“A quite superb book, simply entitled Ravel, written by the Englishmen who knows his work better than any other, Roger Nichols.”—Simon Heffer, The Sunday Telegraph
Choice - R. Pitts
"Includes exhaustive notes, a ten-page bibliography, a superb chronology of Ravel's life, and a complete catalog of his works. Highly recommended."—R. Pitts, Choice
New Statesman - Norman Lebrecht
"reliable and agreeably readable."—Norman Lebrecht, New Statesman
Literary Review - Daniel Snowman
"To anyone with a special interest in Ravel, this book will be essential reading…Surely the composer’s most comprehensive and authoritative English-language biography."—Daniel Snowman, Literary Review
BBC Music Magazine - Robert Maycock
“A compelling new biography unravels the mysteries surrounding Ravel…..Mysterious to the end, the fascination of its subject remains fresh throughout this thorough and sympathetic account.”—Robert Maycock, BBC Music Magazine
Classical Music - Philip Borg-Wheeler
“Roger Nichols’ volume on Ravel in the Master Musicians series dates from 1977, but this new book is far more than a mere reworking. The availability of much new material has led to a threefold expansion of the original, beautifully produced and very reasonably priced…..One could hardly wish for a more authoritative guide to Ravel.”—Philip Borg-Wheeler, Classical Music
The Tablet - Michael White
“…..a major work of scholarship by a leading authority on French repertoire, bristling with insight, interest and authority.”—Michael White, The Tablet
Classic FM Magazine - Anna Britten
“Although little is known about Ravel’s private life – usually the key area of interest for non-academics – Roger Nichols has produced an exceptionally comprehensive work. He attaches himself fully to his subject, weaving the successes, failures and travels with illuminating trivia.”—Anna Britten, Classic FM Magazine
Opera - Gerald Larner
“There is no more thoroughly researched study of the life of Maurice Ravel than this latest, and best, of Roger Nichols’s several books on French music. No clue remains unexplored, no publication or personal reminiscence not taken into account.”—Gerald Larner, Opera
International Record Review - Piers Burton-Page
“This biography is manifestly a labour of love…..But it is very much more than that. Full of generous insights into both the man and his music, most elegantly written, a monument of clarity in exposition and structure, deeply scholarly yet at the same time eminently accessible to the non-specialist, it is surely destined to remain the last word on Maurice Ravel, in any language, for a long time to come. Buy now while stocks last!”—Piers Burton-Page, International Record Review
American Conservative - R.J. Stove
“Ravel could not have hoped to be evaluated by a more elegant stylist.”—R. J. Stove, American Conservative
International Piano - Benjamin Ivry
“This new book about the life and works of Ravel follows Nichols useful Ravel Remembered (Faber) scrutinising facts and compositions with lapidary attention…..Nichols is an invaluably thorough guide”—Benjamin Ivry, International Piano
Library Journal
The distinguished prose of Nichols (The Life of Debussy), who writes chiefly on the subject of 20th-century French music, has earned him the Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur. In this excellent new volume, he takes as a starting point his 1977 biography of composer Maurice Ravel (Ravel), availing himself of recent scholarship to triple the size of his original work. He also acknowledges a debt of gratitude to Arbie Orenstein, whose 1991 Ravel: Man and Musician had been the definitive biographical and analytical study until now. Ravel (1875–1937), one of the most revered and oft-performed French composers of the 20th century, is also one its most enigmatic figures, variously described as aloof, dandyish, and, most famously by Igor Stravinsky, "the most perfect of Swiss clockmakers," though his richly colorful and evocative music has often belied these images. Nichols proceeds chronologically and includes a reflective postlude that puts Ravel into the larger context of his era.Verdict This work is breathtakingly thorough in its biographical detail, with ample references to the music itself, including score excerpts. An essential purchase.—Larry Lipkis, Moravian Coll., Bethlehem, PA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780460031462
Publisher:
Orion Publishing Group, Limited
Publication date:
01/01/1977
Series:
The Master Musicians Ser.
Pages:
224

Meet the Author

Roger Nichols is the author of The Life of Debussy and The Harlequin Years: Music in Paris 1917–1929. He has edited most of Ravel’s piano music for Peters Edition of London.

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