Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe ends in a musical orgasm, but it was written by a fastidious composer. A number of recordings that he supervised or permitted show considerable tempo variations and, certainly, his piano professors at the Conservatory had criticized his playing as having “an excessive amount of temperament,” “a tendency to pursue huge results,” being “overly-enamored of violence” and “lapsing into exaggeration” (although from their rigid educational perspective the degree of Ravel’s feeling could have been quite gentle).
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His books embody Verdi: The Operas and Choral Works, Beethoven’s Chamber Music: A Listener’s Guide, Beethoven’s Piano Music: A Listener’s Information, Bach’s Keyboard Music: A Listener’s Guide, Chopin: A Listener’s Guide to the Master of the Piano, and Debussy: The Quiet Revolutionary, all for Amadeus Press’s Unlocking the Masters sequence.
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Satirically, Ravel is maybe best identified for a piece he did not write – his orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Photos at an Exhibition which, Larner quips, “is so well known that the unique is in peril of sounding like a piano association” of Ravel’s masterful adaptation.…