Maurice Ravel: Trois Chansons and World War I

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Aaron Ronald Jackson (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Welborn Young

Abstract: Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) began writing "Trois Chansons" in November of 1914 and completed it in February of the following year. Durand Musical Editions published the composition in 1916. The Bathori-Engel Chorus, conducted by Louis Aubert, gave the premiere in October 1917. The compositional time frame coincides with Ravel's numerous attempts to volunteer for military service at the onset of World War I (WWI) and his eventual enlistment in March of 1916. By all accounts, "Trois Chansons" is a unique addition to Ravel's compositional oeuvre. Except for this work, Ravel wrote almost exclusively for instrumental genres; this composition is his only a cappella choral contribution. Additionally, the texts of each chanson are by the composer. The purpose of this document is to demonstrate that "Trois Chansons" represents a level of involvement in WWI through composition and contains Ravel's both explicit and implicit commentary on WWI. This research encompasses general information about "Trois Chansons" and commentary on Ravel's attempts to enlist in the Armée de Terre. Also included are summaries of Ravel's compositional components including text, genre, and personal dedications. Furthermore, this document outlines specific compositional devices utilized in "Trois Chansons" and includes representative musical analysis. Finally, through both compositional components and devices, this study suggests aspects of Ravel's personal commentary on WWI. This document concludes with suggestions for further research on "Trois Chansons." In addition to a compiled bibliography, appendices containing Ravel's original poetry for "Trois Chansons" and conductor's analysis pertaining to each chanson accompany the main body of research.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2014
Choral Music
Ravel, Maurice, $d 1875-1937. $t Chansons, $m Mixed voices
World War, 1914-1918 $z France $x Music and the war
Choral music $z France $y 20th century $x Analysis, appreciation

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