Date: May 2004
Creator: Ellis, Diana Lea
Description: In his song cycle, Chansons madécasses (1926), a chamber work for voice, piano, flute, and cello, Maurice Ravel combines twentieth-century musical experimentation and exoticism with the late nineteenth-century style characteristics present in the vocal elements and instrumentation. Because early twentieth-century music appears to be closely connected to modern concerns, performers may tend to dismiss the style and technique of the early twentieth century as simply "old-fashioned" rather than examine and consider those elements as resources and valuable tools for interpreting and presenting authentic performances. The focus of this research includes a discussion of the historical, social, and textual implications of the music and poetry; a formal musical analysis of the work, including comparisons of an early twentieth-century, mid-century, and late twentieth-century recordings with regard to the use of vibrato and portamento in the voice, cello, and flute; and an examination of Chansons madécasses for elements of authentic Malagasy music and poetry. The paper also suggests methodologies for performance practice which reflect the results of these analyses. The beginnings of the rejection of traditional form - harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic structures - found in the early part of the century began to free composers and performers to explore musical presentations that ...
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