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Ravel [Hardcover]

Roger Nichols

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Book Description

June 7 2011

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.

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"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 York Review of Books)

"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 The New Criterion)

“[A] landmark work.”—Chester Lane, SymphonyNOW
(Chester Lane SymphonyNOW)

"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 Choice)

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

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

“Roger Nichols’s new book bids fair to be the best-ever biography of Ravel in English.” —Mark DeVoto, Notes
(Mark DeVoto Notes 2013-03-25)

About 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, readable, informative. April 10 2012
By Eusebius - Published on Amazon.com
Roger Nichols biography of Ravel nearly sets a standard for its genre. Ravel is placed in his cultural milieu and his career and life then followed. Nichols writes well enough that one is carried forward as if reading a novel, but simultaneously he exhibits impeccable scholarship and a balanced approach. I needed to flesh out my understanding of the composer's life for a musical project that I had undertaken -- I had no idea I would take so much pleasure in the reading of it while being so well informed. Bravo!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars mind that creatred a remarkable series of compositions. Readers Dec 9 2011
By radames - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An excellent and much needed English-language biography. The author shows a wide understanding of Ravel's complex life and the musical world of his time, and an intimate understanding of the compositions. The reader will need some knowledge of the components of musical composition to comprehend the descriptions of specific works.
0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ravel Ravel May 30 2013
By Beverly J. Fonseca - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This was not purchased for me. My grandson requested it, and he is very very happy and plans to purchase more.

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