Connections

HOSTED BY: Stephen Peithman

Host Stephen Peithman explores ideas, themes and people shared by various classical works.

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Debussy-Ravel Connection

Maurice Ravel (L) and Claude Debussy (R)

 

Maurice Ravel's String Quartet was rejected by the Paris Conservatory in 1904, and received less than glowing reviews from the French press.

The public, however, gave it a thumbs-up. And, perhaps more important, composer Claude Debussy told Ravel, “In the name of the gods of music . . . do not touch a single note you have written in your Quartet.”

Debussy was speaking from experience, for 10 years earlier, his own string quartet had made its debut to less than glowing reviews.

In this, the links between the two composers and their string quartets—in each case, the only one that either would ever write.