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Manuel de Falla & Maurice Ravel

Manuel de Falla (November 23, 1876 – November 14, 1946) spent much of his life in Grenada, and his music reflects the history and atmosphere of Spain. He wrote the opera La Vida Breve, symphonies including Nights in the Gardens of Spain, and ballets including El Amor Brujo and The Three-Cornered Hat.

In 1907 at the advice of Joaquín Turina and Víctor Mirecki Larramat, Falla moved to Paris. There he met a number of composers who had an influence on his style, including the impressionists Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy and Paul Dukas. Ravel and Falla met in the summer of 1907, introduced by the pianist Ricardo Viñes. Falla spent several years in Paris before the First World War, during which they established a long and warm friendship.

Falla was especially impressed by the authentically Spanish flavour of works like Rapsodie espagnole and L'Heure espagnole, even though Ravel did not get to know the country until many years later when he was 52.

They were divided by their views on religion. Falla, an ardent Catholic, was ever trying to find evidence of religious feeling in his friend and his music (e.g. Le jardin féerique in Ma mère l'oye); and it was he who went to fetch a priest when Ravel's father was dying (Falla, [1979]).


Ricardo Vines and Maurice Ravel
Maurice Ravel was one of France's most popular composers, best remembered today for Bolero. Biographer Benjamin Ivry noted, "According to friends, Ravel was fascinated by the young gay men at Le Boeuf sur le Toit [a cabaret-bar, named after a surrealist ballet, frequented by Jean COCTEAU and Francis POULENC], who danced with one another, although he never danced himself." Ravel conducted simultaneous affairs with pianist Ricardo Vines and Spanish composer Manuel de FALLA.

But their letters reveal their closeness of feeling in musical and personal matters. Ravel wrote with particular sympathy when he heard of the death of Falla's mother in 1919, two years after the death of his own (Orenstein, [1989] Letter 160).

In 1939 Falla went to Argentina, where he remained until his death in 1946. His final cantata, Atlantida, was completed by his student Ernesto Halffter, and was first performed in 1961.

He died of cardiac arrest on 14 November 1946 in Alta Gracia, in the Argentine province of Córdoba. In 1947 his remains were brought back to Spain and entombed in the cathedral at Cádiz. One of the lasting honors to his memory is the Manuel de Falla Chair of Music in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters at Complutense University of Madrid. His image appeared on Spanish currency notes for some years. Manuel de Falla never married and had no children.

Source: http://www.maurice-ravel.net/falla.htm

Maurice Ravel (March 7, 1875 – December 28, 1937) was one of France’s most popular composers, best remembered today for Bolero.

Ravel served in the French army during World War I. After the war he retired to his villa at Montfortl’Amaury and devoted himself to music—and, reportedly, his collection of pornography.

Hispiano compositions—including Sonatine, Miroirs, Gaspard de la Nuit, and Le Tombeau de Couperin—were stunningly original and an inspiration to other composers. Ravel included elements of jazz in his Piano Concerto in G and composed Piano Concerto for the Left Hand around the same time. He wrote two operas, L ’heure espagnole and L ’enfant et les sortileges. He wrote the ballet Daphnis et Chloé for Sergei DIAGHILEV.

Biographer Benjamin Ivry noted, "According to friends, Ravel was fascinated by the young gay men at Le Boeuf sur le Toit [a cabaret-bar, named after a surrealist ballet, frequented by Jean COCTEAU and Francis POULENC], who danced with one another, although he never danced himself." Ravel conducted simultaneous affairs with pianist Ricardo Vines and Spanish composer Manuel de FALLA.

Ravel is not known to have had any intimate relationships, and his personal life, and especially his sexuality, remain a mystery. Ravel made a remark at one time suggesting that because he was such a perfectionist composer, so devoted to his work, he could never have a lasting intimate relationship with anyone. However, according to close friend and student Manuel Rosenthal, he asked violinist Hélène Jourdan-Mourhange to marry him, although she dismissed him, saying "No, Maurice, I'm extremely fond of you, as you know, but only as a friend, and I couldn't possibly consider marrying you". He is quoted as saying "The only love affair I have ever had was with music". Some of his friends suggested that Ravel frequented the bordellos of Paris, but no factual evidence has ever been found to substantiate this rumor.

A recent hypothesis presented by David Lamaze, a composition teacher at the Conservatoire de Rennes in France, is that he hid in his music representations of the nickname and the name of Misia Godebska, transcribed into two groups of notes, Godebska = G D E B A and Misia = Mi + Si + A = E B A. He was invited onto her boat during a 1905 cruise on the Rhine after his failure at the Prix de Rome, for which her husband, Alfred Edwards, organized a scandal in the newspapers. This same man owned the Casino de Paris where the Ravel family had a number staged, Tourbillon de la mort ("Whirlwind of Death"). The family of her half-brother, Cipa Godebski, is said to have been like a second family for Ravel. In 1907 on Misia's boat L'Aimée, Ravel completed L'heure espagnole and the Rapsodie espagnole, and at the premiere of Daphnis et Chloé, Ravel arrived late and did not go to his box but to Misia's, where he offered her a Japanese doll. In her memoirs, Misia hid all these facts. (Picture: Ricardo Vines)

In his Maurice Ravel: A Life, published in 2000, biographer Benjamin Ivry presents evidence in support of his thesis that Ravel's lack of known intimate relationships may be explained if he was a "very secretive" gay man. Ivry also attempts to illustrate examples where Ravel's sexuality may have been expressed in his musical compositions. In his review of Ivry's biography for Library Journal Larry Lipkis is persuaded by Ivry's research that "There seems to be little question that Ravel was an affected, intensely secretive dandy with gay inclinations", but also expresses the view that Ivry's work is less persuasive in definitively linking Ravel's sexuality to characteristics of his musical oeuvre.

Stern, Keith. Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals. Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.

Further Readings:

Maurice Ravel : A Life by Benjamin Ivry
Hardcover: 296 pages
Publisher: Welcome Rain Publishers; 1 edition (August 1, 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1566491525
ISBN-13: 978-1566491525
Amazon: Maurice Ravel: A Life

Maurice Ravel: A Life is the first convincing attempt to paint a portrait of the life and work of the hitherto enigmatic composer of Bolero, Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, and L'enfant Et Les Sortileges. Ivry offers here a convincing solution to the much-discussed "mystery" of Ravel's sexuality. More than simply "outing" Ravel as a gay man for the first time among numerous writers on this composer, this book discusses how his secretive sexuality impacted his work. Using unpublished documents, letters, articles and memoirs, many of which were previously unknown even to Arbie Orenstein, universally considered the world's leading scholar of Ravel studies, Ivry presents a more rounded view of Ravel, man and musician. Descriptions of musical works are in non-technical language, friendly to the reader with no specialized knowledge of classical music. Like Ivry's widely acclaimed biography of Poulenc, universally seen as the standard life of this composer in any language, his new Ravel is likely to become a classic of contemporary musical biography

Sacred Passions: The Life and Music of Manuel de Falla by Carol A. Hess
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (December 9, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0195145615
ISBN-13: 978-0195145618
Amazon: Sacred Passions: The Life and Music of Manuel de Falla

The work of composer Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) ranges from late-romantic salon pieces to evocations of flamenco to stark neoclassicism. Yet his music has met with conflicting reactions, depending on the audience. In his native Spain, Falla is considered the most innovative composer of the first half of the twentieth century. Likewise, in the United States, Falla enjoyed a strong following in the concert hall. But many of his works, especially some of the "colorful" or "exotic" dances from The Three-Cornered Hat and El Amor Brujo, were taken up during the Latin music craze of the 1930s and 40s and appeared in everything from jazz and pop arrangements to MGM musicals. Similarly enigmatic are the details of Falla's life. He never sustained a lasting, intimate relationship with a woman, yet he created compelling female roles for the lyric stage. Although he became incensed when publishers altered his music, he more than once tinkered with Chopin and Debussy. Despite insisting that he was apolitical, Falla ultimately took sides in the Spanish Civil War, initially allying himself rather half-heartedly with Franco's Nationalists but later rejecting the honors they proffered. All his life, his rigorous brand of Roman Catholicism brought him both solace and agony in his quest for spiritual and artistic perfection.

In Sacred Passions: The Life and Music of Manuel de Falla, Carol A. Hess explores these contradictions and offers a fresh understanding of this fascinating composer. Building on over a decade of research, Hess examines Falla's work in terms of musical style and explores the cultural milieus in which he worked. During a seven-year sojourn to Paris just pior to World War I, Falla associated with composers Dukas, Stravinsky, Ravel, and the rest of the group known as les Apaches. Later, back in Spain, he played a pivotal role in the remarkable cultural renaissance known as the "Silver Age," during which Lorca, Buñuel, Dalí, Unamuno-and of course Falla himself-made some of their boldest artistic statements.

Hess also explores a number of myths cultivated in earlier biographies, including Falla's supposed misogynistic tendencies and accusations of homosexuality, which have led some biographers to consider him a saint-like ascetic. She offers a balanced view of his behavior during the Spanish Civil War, a wrenching event for a Spaniard of his generation, and one that Falla biographers have left largely untouched. With superb analysis of his music and enlightening detail about its critical reception, Hess also examines Falla's status in some circles as little more than a high-class pop composer, given the mass appeal of much of his music. She incorporates recent research on Falla, draws upon untapped sources in the Falla archives, and reevaluates his work in terms of current issues in musicology.

Ultimately, Hess places Falla's variegated ouevre, which straddles popular and serious idioms, securely among the best of his better-known European contemporaries. What emerges is a gracefully written, balanced portrait of a man whose lofty spiritual values inspired singular musical utterances but were often at odds with the decidedly imperfect world he inhabited.

The Gay Book of Days: An Evocatively Illustrated Who's Who of Who Is, Was, May Have Been, Probably Was, and Almost Certainly Seems to Have Been Gay During the Past 5000 Years by Martin Greif
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Lyle Stuart / Carol Publishing; 1st edition (June 1, 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0818403845
ISBN-13: 978-0818403842
Amazon: The Gay Book of Days: An Evocatively Illustrated Who's Who of Who Is, Was, May Have Been, Probably Was, and Almost Certainly Seems to Have Been Gay During the Past 5000 Years

More LGBT Couples at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance



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