Ravel the Decadent: Memory, Sublimation, and Desire

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9780199735372: Ravel the Decadent: Memory, Sublimation, and Desire

The music of Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), beloved by musicians and audiences since its debut, has been a difficult topic for scholars. The traditional stylistic categories of impressionism, symbolism, and neoclassicism, while relevant, have offered too little purchase on this fascinating but enigmatic work. In Ravel the Decadent, author Michael Puri provides an innovative and productive solution by locating the aesthetic origins of this music in the French Decadence and demonstrating the extension of this influence across the length of his oeuvre. From an array of Decadent topics Puri selects three--memory, sublimation, and desire--and uses them to delineate the content of this music, pinpoint its overlap with contemporary cultural discourse, and link it to its biographical context, as well as to create new methods altogether for the analysis and interpretation of music.

Ravel the Decadent opens by defining the main concepts, giving particular attention to memory and decadence. It then stakes out contrasting modes of memory in this music: a nostalgic mode that views the past as forever lost, and a more optimistic one that imagines its resurrection and reanimation. Acknowledging Ravel's lifelong identity as a dandy--a figure that embodies the Decadence and its aspiration toward the sublime--Puri identifies possible moments of musical self-portraiture before stepping back to theorize dandyism in European musical modernism at large. He then addresses the dialectic between desire and its sublimation in the pairing of two genres--the bacchanal and the idyl--and leverages the central trio of concepts to offer provocative readings of Ravel's two waltz sets, the Valses nobles et sentimentales and La valse. Puri concludes by invoking the same terms to identify a topic of "faun music" that promises to create new common ground between Ravel and Debussy. Rife with close readings that will satisfy the musicologist, Ravel the Decadent also suits a more general reader through its broadly humanistic key concepts, immersion in contemporary art and literature, and clarity of language.

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About the Author:


Michael J. Puri is an Associate Professor in the McIntire Department of Music at the University of Virginia. A graduate of Harvard, Yale, and the Music Academy in Basel, Puri uses literary and critical theory to analyze music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with special attention to Ravel, Debussy, and Wagner. His articles have appeared in leading music journals and various edited collections, and his research has been supported by national societies and foundations. In 2008 he received the Alfred Einstein Award from the American Musicological Society.

Review:


"Ravel the Decadent represents an enormous advance in our understanding of both the composer's music and French musical culture following the fin-de-siècle, then in the throes of one of music's many modernisms. In a series of elegant and urbane reflections, Michael J. Puri dissolves our vague notions of the music's impressionism and neoclassicism into a much more meaningful engagement with its abiding sense of historical memory, its inclination to 'dwell in the past.' He grounds this in-dwelling in its thematic procedures, which form an intricate, mnemotechnical apparatus that mediates but also destructures our experience of the music: in moments of calm reflection, these processes disrupt the seamless aesthetic surface of the music, rendering it momentarily formless. It is to these moments, in which memory becomes music, that Puri encourages us to listen." --Brian Hyer, Professor of Music Theory, University of Wisconsin - Madison


"Puri's writing is elegant, clear, and engaging. His ear for musical detail, through close readings of works and intertextual reference, is always sure. He moves persuasively between critical theory and musical discussion, between context and aesthetics, in what surely ranks as not only one of the finest studies of Maurice Ravel ever written, but also a model for musical scholarship of early twentieth-century repertory in general." --Steven Huebner, Professor of Music, McGill University


"Beautifully produced and inexpensive, this is a most valuable addition to Ravel scholarship." --Classical Music


"A compelling, complex study...The volume brims with lively, engaging prose and is graced with numerous musical examples, tables, and figures...Highly recommended." --Choice


"A wonderful achievement...Ravel the Decadent will stand for decades as a major contribution to the fields of both musicology and music theory." --Notes


"[A] dazzling book whose impact will resonate for decades. Anyone interested in music during the Th ird Republic, memory studies or the French Decadence will want to consult it." --Nineteenth-Century French Studies


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Puri, Michael J.
Editorial: OUP USA (2012)
ISBN 10: 0199735379 ISBN 13: 9780199735372
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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2012. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The music of Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), beloved by musicians and audiences since its debut, has always proven itself a difficult topic for scholars. The traditional stylistic categories of impressionism, symbolism, and neoclassicism, while relevant, have offered too little purchase on his fascinating but enigmatic work. Ravel the Decadent provides an innovative and productive solution by locating the aesthetic origins of this music in the French Decadence and demonstrating the extension of this influence across the length of his oeuvre. While there are many Decadent topics, this book selects three-memory, sublimation, and desire-and uses them not only to delineate the content of this music, pinpoint its overlap with contemporary cultural discourse, and link it to its biographical context, but also to create new methods altogether for the analysis and interpretation of music. Ravel the Decadent opens by defining the main concepts, giving particular attention to memory and decadence. It then stakes out contrasting modes of memory in this music: a nostalgic mode that views the past as forever lost, and a more optimistic mode that imagines its resurrection and reanimation.It acknowledges Ravel s lifelong identity as a dandy-a figure that embodies the Decadence and its aspiration toward the sublime-and identifies possible moments of musical self-portraiture before stepping back to theorize dandyism in European musical modernism at large. It then addresses the dialectic between desire and its sublimation in the pairing of two genres-the bacchanal and the idyll-and leverages the central trio of concepts to offer provocative readings of the two waltz sets, the Valses nobles et sentimentales and La valse. It concludes by invoking the same terms to identify a topic of faun music that promises to create new common ground between Ravel and Debussy. Rife with close readings that will satisfy the musicologist, the book also suits a more general reader through its broadly humanistic key concepts, immersion in contemporary art and literature, and clear, direct language. Nº de ref. de la librería BTE9780199735372

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Descripción 2012. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Hardcover. The music of Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), beloved by musicians and audiences since its debut, has been a difficult topic for scholars. The traditional stylistic categories of im.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 264 pages. 0.540. Nº de ref. de la librería 9780199735372

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