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Roger Nichols

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This new biography of Maurice Ravel (1875–1937), by one of the leading scholars of nineteenth- and twentieth-century French music, is based on a wealth of written and oral evidence, some newly translated and some derived from interviews with the composer’s friends and associates. As well as describing the circumstances in which Ravel composed, the book explores new evidence to present radical views of the composer’s background and upbringing, his notorious failure in the Prix de Rome, his incisive and often combative character, his sexual preferences, and his long final illness. It also contains the most detailed account so far published of his hugely successful American tour of 1928. The world of Maurice Ravel—including friendships (and some fallings-out) with Debussy, Fauré, Diaghilev, Gershwin, and Toscanini—is deftly uncovered in this sensitive portrait.

Roger Nichols is the author of The Life of Debussy and The Harlequin Years: Music in Paris 1917–1929. He has edited most of Ravel’s piano music for Peters Edition of London.

"An excellent new biography of Ravel by Roger Nichols makes clear his ambiguous and fluctuating relation to full-fledged avant-garde modernism. The book is the most nearly complete and inclusive account of his life and work."—Charles Rosen, The New York Review of Books

"Mr. Nichols writes perceptively about Ravel's personality and how it shaped his music, and about the earlier works' influence on later compositions. . . . One leaves Mr. Nichols's Ravel with a sense of the author's deep insight as well as Ravel's."—James Penrose, The New Criterion

"[An] insightful biography."—Michael Downes, Times Literary Supplement

“[A] landmark work.”—Chester Lane, SymphonyNOW

“A quite superb book, simply entitled Ravel, written by the Englishmen who knows his work better than any other, Roger Nichols.”—Simon Heffer, The Sunday Telegraph

"Includes exhaustive notes, a ten-page bibliography, a superb chronology of Ravel's life, and a complete catalog of his works. Highly recommended."—R. Pitts, Choice

"reliable and agreeably readable."—Norman Lebrecht, New Statesman

"To anyone with a special interest in Ravel, this book will be essential reading…Surely the composer’s most comprehensive and authoritative English-language biography."—Daniel Snowman, Literary Review

“A compelling new biography unravels the mysteries surrounding Ravel…..Mysterious to the end, the fascination of its subject remains fresh throughout this thorough and sympathetic account.”—Robert Maycock, BBC Music Magazine

“Roger Nichols’ volume on Ravel in the Master Musicians series dates from 1977, but this new book is far more than a mere reworking. The availability of much new material has led to a threefold expansion of the original, beautifully produced and very reasonably priced…..One could hardly wish for a more authoritative guide to Ravel.”—Philip Borg-Wheeler, Classical Music

“…..a major work of scholarship by a leading authority on French repertoire, bristling with insight, interest and authority.”—Michael White, The Tablet

“Although little is known about Ravel’s private life – usually the key area of interest for non-academics – Roger Nichols has produced an exceptionally comprehensive work. He attaches himself fully to his subject, weaving the successes, failures and travels with illuminating trivia.”—Anna Britten, Classic FM Magazine

“There is no more thoroughly researched study of the life of Maurice Ravel than this latest, and best, of Roger Nichols’s several books on French music. No clue remains unexplored, no publication or personal reminiscence not taken into account.”—Gerald Larner, Opera

“Nichols . . . enriches our understanding of [a] compositional titan.”—Chester Lane, SymphonyNOW

“This biography is manifestly a labour of love…..But it is very much more than that. Full of generous insights into both the man and his music, most elegantly written, a monument of clarity in exposition and structure, deeply scholarly yet at the same time eminently accessible to the non-specialist, it is surely destined to remain the last word on Maurice Ravel, in any language, for a long time to come. Buy now while stocks last!”—Piers Burton-Page, International Record Review

“Ravel could not have hoped to be evaluated by a more elegant stylist.”—R. J. Stove, American Conservative

“This new book about the life and works of Ravel follows Nichols useful Ravel Remembered (Faber) scrutinising facts and compositions with lapidary attention…..Nichols is an invaluably thorough guide”—Benjamin Ivry, International Piano

“Roger Nichols’s new book bids fair to be the best-ever biography of Ravel in English.” —Mark DeVoto, Notes
ISBN: 9780300108828
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
420 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
16pp. b/w illus.

A Biography

Roger Nichols

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