Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Art and Life, or, the Passionate Composer

Maurice Ravel, composer of much music that we class as passionate, even erotic, seems to have lived a completely chaste life:
Much of his music has a hedonistic sheen that seems to speak of erotic pleasure, yet Roger Nichols, like Ravel's previous biographers, fails to unearth evidence of any sexual involvement whatsoever, straight or gay.
Perhaps it is interesting in this context the the friendship between Ravel and his quasi-mentor Debussy soured when the older man left his wife for his mistress. Debussy, it seems, was the sort of artist for whom passionate composing was rooted in the turmoil of a passionate life. Ravel, who felt passion only for art, failed to see how romance was an excuse for treating your wife badly, and he and Lily Debussy remained close friends.

No comments: