Maurice Ravel: A Guide to Research

Maurice Ravel: A Guide to Research

Maurice Ravel: A Guide to Research

Maurice Ravel: A Guide to Research

Synopsis

This is a guide to research on the great composer, Maurice Ravel. It includes over 2000 annotated entries of the scholarly literature on Ravel, including catalogues, facsimilies of autographs, music editions, textual criticism, bibliographies, monographs, articles, and dissertations covering his life and music.

Excerpt

In this volume, I follow a somewhat more bibliographic format than that found in other distinguished contributions to the series, proposing a more mechanical sense of orientation than frequently encountered via author-determined topics. Categories such as “relations with others,” for instance, have always struck me as problematic — that is, what constitutes a “relation,” how are the “others” chosen, etc. Moreover, however carefully chosen, the materials found within such categories often differ widely in format and provenance.

I have tried, therefore, to provide some sense of both bibliographical and topical organization from the beginning. My reasons for doing so are aesthetic as well as mechanical, deriving, on the one hand, from some characteristically generous conversations with the late William Austin and, on the other, from more than fifteen years of teaching on both the undergraduate and graduate levels. the latter has only reinforced the importance of Professor Austin’s remarks to me some time ago about the challenges of structuring one’s research responsibly, especially within larger areas of inquiry such as (in this case) those pertaining to the great French composer Maurice Ravel.

Austin believed that meaningful research stemmed most often from a desire to “get closer, closest, if possible” to a specific work or works and, hence, to their creator — an aesthetic motivation about which there should be no embarrassment. Embedded in such enthusiasm, however, would be certain methodological obligations that are mechanical by nature: the biographies or “Life and Works” at hand might take one a good distance, but in order to move closer one would have to navigate a wider spectrum of formats, and then — if possible — move on to primary sources. the investigation, then, of as many different bibliographic formats as possible from the beginning would provide a reasonably strategic means to an aesthetic end, the meaningful advancement of a discourse in one’s chosen topic.

This book, hence, is divided essentially into three parts: (1) an historically oriented and contextual introduction, (2) a critical and informed distillation of the enormous secondary literature concerning Ravel in the major bibliographic formats and Western research languages from the time of the composer’s death until the turn of the 21st century, and (3) a critical and informed interpretation . . .

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