Often synonymous with each other, French composers Debussy (1862-1918) and Ravel (1875-1937) took the world by storm by introducing new sensuous harmonic colors breaking tradition from centuries of heavy Germanic aesthetics. Too quickly does one group their music together by calling it Impressionism, a label deeply loathed by both and is not the most accurate term to describe their works. In the world of Debussy and Ravel, textures and symbolism are what drives their fantastical and dreamlike melodies.
A closer look in into the lives of Debussy and Ravel reveals the two were frenemies; they respected one another but also were pitted against each other by their loyal audiences and a rival harp commission. Were their pioneering piano solos and exciting chamber and orchestral music really that similar as some critics threw around the word “copying” while comparing their compositions? Where do the similarities stop or are they actually early twentieth century twins? We’ll answer these questions by looking into their works, which are some of the most celebrated compositions of this era.
About the Instructor: As an American harpist, Lauren Woidela has traveled to three continents performing solo, chamber and orchestral concerts. As an instructor, she has given lectures for the musicology department of the Université de Paris-Sorbonne, focusing on 19th & 20th century music. She produced and hosted her own radio program for the former KXTR, Kansas City’s classical music radio station, captivating her audiences by bringing a fresh new view to classical music.
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