Irony and Sound: The Music of Maurice Ravel

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University Rochester Press, 2009 - Music - 434 pages
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What is it about Bol ro, Gaspard de la nuit, and Daphnis et Chlo that makes musicians and listeners alike love them so? Stephen Zank here illuminates these and other works of Maurice Ravel through several of the composer's fascinations: dynamic intensification, counterpoint, orchestration, exotic influences on Western music, and an interest in multisensorial perception. Connecting all these fascinations, Zank argues, is irony. His book offers an appreciation of Ravel's musical irony that is grounded in the vocabularies and criticism of the time and in two early attempts at writing up a "Ravel Aesthetic" by intimates of Ravel. Thomas Mann called irony the phenomenon that is, "beyond compare, the most profound and most alluring in the world." Irony and Sound, written with insight and flair, provides a long-needed reconsideration of Ravel's modernity, his teaching, and his place in twentieth-century music and culture. Musicologist Stephen Zank has taught at University of Illinois, University of North Texas, and University of Rochester. He is the author of Maurice Ravel: A Guide to Research.

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