He is remembered in the United States primarily for the rather banal repetitions of Bolero,
but Maurice Ravel wrote a great deal of music more worthy of celebration: ballets like Ma Mere l'Oye
(Mother Goose) and Daphnis et Chloe
; orchestral and piano works like Pavane pour une Infante Defunte
(Pavane for a Dead Princess) and the Rapsodie Espagnole
; operas like L'Enfant et les Sortileges
(The Child and the Enchantments); and settings of Greek and Jewish songs. British author and critic Gerald Larner offers a well-researched, well-written, accessible biography of Ravel's life and compositions that explores his music and his motivations, a part of the Phaidon Press Limited 20th Century Composers series.
From Library Journal
Ravel was always sensitive about his diminutive size and the constant comparison of his work to that of Debussy. His compositions were considered dangerously progressive by the musical establishment of the day, but his Bolero has become one of the war horses of the symphony orchestra. Music critic Larner offers this entry in Phaidon's "20th Century Composers" series as the first biography on Ravel to appear in English in nearly a decade. In this discussion of his life and works, the works come second. The analysis of the music is rather superficial, avoiding technical terms and lacking a single musical example. Illustrations and photographs, however, are excellent and abundant. This, along with the absence of footnotes, indicates that the book is intended for the general reader rather than the music student. Recommended for public and academic libraries.?Michael Colby, Univ. of California, Davis
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.