Wednesday, 12 October 2016

New on Lagraziana's Kalliopeion: Ravel. A Novel by Jean Echenoz Decomposition of a Musical Brain:
Ravel. A Novel by Jean Echenoz

There are melodies so unique that it’s enough to hear their first notes to know what is coming. Without doubt the Boléro by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) is such a memorable piece of music. Although it’s a classical orchestra tune and not actually new – it premiered as a ballet in November 1928 –, virtually everybody knows it at least partly; most people will even remember the name of its French composer notwithstanding that they may never have heard any other work of his. After all, Ravel was celebrated already during his lifetime and his fame hasn’t faded since his tragic death following the desperate attempt to stop or even reverse his mental decline with brain surgery. But what kind of a man was Maurice Ravel apart from his compositions? In his short critically acclaimed biographical novel Ravel, which first appeared early in 2006, the French author Jean Echenoz evokes the last decade in the life of the musical genius starting with his 1928 grand tour of America.

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  1. I love biographies of composers. I once read the entire three volume biography of Franz Liszt by Alan Walker. It is amazing how much history one can learn by reading such biographies as well as how music fit into the time.

    1. It's true that biographies give an amazing insight into history, all of them. This one was the first of a musician that I ever read although I'm Austrian and I could choose from quite some composers from my country to learn more about. Mozart is only the most famous of them.


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