Saturday, July 18, 2015

Ravel, Ravel

I discovered on Friday at the ACO concert that Ravel's music puts me to sleep.  The concert was well played and well sung but pre-interval was all Ravel and I had difficulty suppressing yawns. I usually sit with baited breath in classical concerts and leave on a high that takes hours to recede, so it was a novel experience to hear classical music through other ears. 'This', I thought, 'must be what classical music sounds like for those who say they don't like it.'

After the interval Susan Graham sang Respighi and I am very glad she did as it was more dramatic and suddenly I was awake and listening properly to her beautiful voice. I would have like to have  heard more, but it was not to be, as a Piano Quintet by César Franck followed (which I also enjoyed).
Maurice Ravel

Ottorino Respighi
César Franck

I was a bit dumbfounded by my reaction to Ravel's music so I did a bit of research to see if it is a musical period that fails to inspire me. Ravel wrote in what is now called the Impressionistic period (late 19th, early 20th century) but Debussy is also an impressionistic composer and I like his piano tinklings.

Although I don't dislike Debussy's music I don't play it when I paint. Bach, Beethoven, Wagner or Britten's music are conducive to painting for me. There is something in the structure of the music that seems to help the painting process. I find Vivaldi and Handel neutral but I cannot paint to Mozart or Debussy. (Mozart's Idomeneo is the exception - I love the music and would happily paint while it is playing.)

There is a lot written about colour and what it does to our psyche; perhaps we need some scholarly articles about music and it's effect on our emotional balance as well.

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