A request to include Debussy and Ravel on this site led me to some soul searching. Why had I dismissed them both as composers whose music – for the most part – I didn’t like? How did I know I didn’t “like” them? – if I only had two single pieces by Debusssy and NOTHING by Ravel. I had gone shopping for more Debussy in the past, but was never moved to buy anything more. All I knew by Ravel was Bolero. Everything further I listened to was a turn off.
(* Ravel on Bolero: He described it as trivial … “A piece for orchestra without music” !!!)
As I expanded my search I noticed that they were often included on the same albums; indicating an ‘affinity’ / connection. They were both referred to as “Impressionist Music” (a term that Debussy didn’t like)
So what did I find to break down my prejudices? (or re-inforce them in the case of Aoua!)
MY SINCERE APOLOGIES to lovers of Debussy and Ravel for this superficial and narrow view of their work.
First to Debussy : Claire de Lune. This was one of the only two pieces I had by Debussy. We all love this one don’t we?!
Here was the other one I had in my library at the time of the request. Gamboling about those hills that are Alive with the Sound of music.
Reverie for oboe and orchestra
Is this a partially succesfull attempt to pull at our heart strings?
Debussy Valse Romantique
Now here’s Ravel: This piece almost broke my Ravel prejudice. Why almost? Because it sounds to me like a Rachmaninoff wannabe! They were exact contemporaries, and to my ear it’s Rachmaninoff on a bad day.
Pavane pour une infante defunte
And I like this piece too … BUT – Ravel mentions St. Saens and Satie as influences and it sounds like he placed one cup of St. Saens and one and a half cups of Satie in a blender and just blended them up.
Piano concerto in G major / adagio assai
YUK! If I wanted to be seduced into a suicidal state, or clinical depression; or encouraged to pull my hair out … I would turn to Yoko Ono, or contemporary cutting edge heavy death-metal.