By Michael J. Puri
The song of Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), loved through musicians and audiences given that its debut, has been a tricky subject for students. the normal stylistic different types of impressionism, symbolism, and neoclassicism, whereas appropriate, have provided too little buy in this interesting yet enigmatic paintings. In Ravel the Decadent, writer Michael Puri offers an cutting edge and efficient answer via finding the cultured origins of this song within the French Decadence and demonstrating the extension of this effect around the size of his oeuvre. From an array of Decadent issues Puri selects three--memory, sublimation, and desire--and makes use of them to delineate the content material of this tune, pinpoint its overlap with modern cultural discourse, and hyperlink it to its biographical context, in addition to to create new equipment altogether for the research and interpretation of music.
Ravel the Decadent opens by way of defining the most ideas, giving specific cognizance to reminiscence and decadence. It then stakes out contrasting modes of reminiscence during this song: a nostalgic mode that perspectives the prior as ceaselessly misplaced, and a extra positive person who imagines its resurrection and reanimation. Acknowledging Ravel's lifelong id as a dandy - a determine that embodies the Decadence and its aspiration towards the chic - Puri identifies attainable moments of musical self-portraiture sooner than stepping again to theorize dandyism in eu musical modernism at huge. He then addresses the dialectic among wish and its sublimation within the pairing of 2 genres - the bacchanal and the idyll - and leverages the valuable trio of options to supply provocative readings of Ravel's waltz units, the Valses nobles et sentimentales and La valse. Puri concludes via invoking an identical phrases to spot a subject of "faun music" that provides to create new universal flooring among Ravel and Debussy. Rife with shut readings that might fulfill the musicologist, Ravel the Decadent also matches a extra normal reader via its commonly humanistic key options, immersion in modern artwork and literature, and readability of language.
"Ravel the Decadent represents a huge develop in our realizing of either the composer's track and French musical tradition following the fin-de-siècle, then within the throes of 1 of music's many modernisms. In a chain of stylish and urbane reflections, Michael J. Puri dissolves our obscure notions of the music's impressionism and neoclassicism right into a even more significant engagement with its abiding experience of ancient reminiscence, its inclination to 'dwell within the past.' He grounds this in-dwelling in its thematic systems, which shape an problematic, mnemotechnical equipment that mediates but additionally destructures our event of the song: in moments of calm mirrored image, those techniques disrupt the seamless aesthetic floor of the song, rendering it momentarily formless. it's to those moments, within which reminiscence turns into tune, that Puri encourages us to listen." --Brian Hyer, Professor of song idea, college of Wisconsin - Madison
"Puri's writing is classy, transparent, and interesting. His ear for musical element, via shut readings of works and intertextual reference, is often yes. He strikes persuasively among serious concept and musical dialogue, among context and aesthetics, in what definitely ranks as not just one of many most interesting stories of Maurice Ravel ever written, but in addition a version for musical scholarship of early twentieth-century repertory in general." --Steven Huebner, Professor of track, McGill University
About the Author
Michael J. Puri is an affiliate Professor within the McIntire division of track on the college of Virginia. A graduate of Harvard, Yale, and the song Academy in Basel, Puri makes use of literary and important thought to research tune of the 19th and 20th centuries, with detailed recognition to Ravel, Debussy, and Wagner. His articles have seemed in best song journals and numerous edited collections, and his examine has been supported via nationwide societies and foundations. In 2008 he acquired the Alfred Einstein Award from the yankee Musicological Society.