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#2023383 - 01/29/13 10:55 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: Julian_]  
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Originally Posted by SlatterFan
Originally Posted by debrucey
Incurably romantic? Hmmmm.
To me Ravel is all surface. Pristine, cultivated, remarkable surface, but surface nonetheless. The closest he got to romanticism was Gaspard, and that was only intended as a caricature. Of all composers I can't think of one who wore his heart on his sleeve less than Ravel.
This isn't a criticism, it's what makes him great.

Ravel might agree with you, and from what I have read he was far more interested in the craft of composing than expressing emotions. But I think much of his music tells a different story. For example, whatever his intentions were when he composed Gaspard de la Nuit, genuine romanticism is there, especially in Le somber and chilling Gibet(!) and the more menacing aspects of Scarbo. I already felt that about Ravel before I heard him play, and then his piano roll recordings confirmed it: reserved in some aspects perhaps, but still emotional.

However much Ravel denied being a romantic, and however we see things about his personality and life that confirm this, taking his music on its own terms, it is romantic and emotional and occasionally "spiritual" to some of us. I'm sure that it isn't a unique phenomenon, that some people are able to express qualities in their art that they could never reveal in the rest of their lives, giving the best of themselves and reaching beyond themselves, whether consciously or not.

This touches on a subject that has been debated on this forum a few times: whether it is beneficial, or always beneficial, to know a lot of background information about a composer's life, personality, and the circumstances surrounding the creation of their works. At times like this I wonder if it can be a hindrance. For decades last century lots of people were taught that Chopin was this frail, delicate creature who composed mostly delicate, ornamental music, and I wonder how much that stereotyping hindered people's appreciation of Chopin's art? So when I see Ravel's music described as "all surface", I wince. To me there is more to be discovered and felt in Ravel's music than that.
For me the pieces in Gaspard paint beautiful, horrifying, or scary images but contain little emotion. In all of Ravel's piano music I see little about love, sadness, desire, joy, spirituality, etc. I feel the same about almost all of Debussy's piano music. OTOH I think the piano music of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Schubert, Brahms, Liszt, Rachmaninov, etc. is filled with depiction human emotion.

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#2023489 - 01/29/13 02:29 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C

Oh -- this isn't also about spritetual pieces? grin

I'm sorry but if nobody else is going to speak up...you *will* be held accountable for your crimes, faerie funny though they may be.

Sometimes, we all just need to be shown a little kindness <3
#2023502 - 01/29/13 03:13 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by beet31425
Not for me....This music is a glimpse into the perfect glittering world of the naiads and water-sprites....

Oh -- this isn't also about spritetual pieces? grin

I think sprite-ual would be easier to pronounce! grin

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Music is my best friend.

#2023829 - 01/30/13 04:45 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr
I hear most of Ravel's music as being extremely intense emotionally, but under equally extreme control.
I agree.

Originally Posted by wr
I think it is a more interesting spiritual exercise to try to be open to the spiritual in places where you don't expect it, and maybe even in music you think is vulgar junk. Stuff that is culturally branded as being "spiritual" is, in a way, too easy (not to mention that it won't have the same effect on everyone).

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
For me the pieces in Gaspard paint beautiful, horrifying, or scary images but contain little emotion. In all of Ravel's piano music I see little about love, sadness, desire, joy, spirituality, etc.
The emotion I feel in Ravel's music is closest to sadness, with some love and desire mixed in, but these tend to permeate the music in a very constrained way rather than being expressed directly, in a very different way from most other composers of that era. It is difficult to put into words, but I feel in Ravel's music yearning and loneliness, associated with feeling somewhat isolated and disconnected from life; a fascination and appreciation of the beautiful, horrific, scary, interesting, etc.; and thus an attempt to connect and no longer be isolated and lonely. Someone who is somewhat on the outside looking in. I think there is a childlike nature as well, as others have pointed out: someone who hadn't fully grown up, which contributed to the feeling of isolation and disconnection. I'm sure other composers felt some of these things too, but Ravel is the one who particularly seems to capture them in his music.

I think that part of what makes Ravel's music special is that listeners can enjoy the fascination and appreciation of the beautiful, horrific, scary, interesting, etc., and have a fine experience, with or without feeling emotion within the music.

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#2028008 - 02/06/13 10:48 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]  
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I think this is pretty spiritual... But maybe in more of a religious way;


Valentina is amazing!

Last edited by pianomandb95; 02/06/13 12:04 PM.

“Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.”
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