A Performer's Analysis of Maurice Ravel's Chansons madécasses: A Lecture Recital, Together with Three Recitals of Selected Works of B. Britten, R. Schumann, S. Barber, T. Pasatieri, F. Poulenc, G. Verdi, T. Arne, and Others

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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 ... continued below

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Ellis, Diana Lea May 2004.

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  • Ellis, Diana Lea

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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 gain their power not only from startling and unexpected elements of exoticism and interpretation but also from their romantic roots, which spurred the desire for a raw, even melodramatic, emotionalism. Ravel, without sacrificing the integrity of his native language, is able to blend his text with his accompaniment in a way that uses both the poem and the music to advance the "plot" and emotion of the narration, producing what might be described as a near perfect union of form and theme, structure and idea.

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  • May 2004

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  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:12 p.m.

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Ellis, Diana Lea. A Performer's Analysis of Maurice Ravel's Chansons madécasses: A Lecture Recital, Together with Three Recitals of Selected Works of B. Britten, R. Schumann, S. Barber, T. Pasatieri, F. Poulenc, G. Verdi, T. Arne, and Others, dissertation, May 2004; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4522/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .