Chopin And Ravel Essay

2869 words - 11 pages

Chopin¡¦s Ballade is described as a story ¡§carried forward by its own momentum, leaping ahead or lingering over some details but never backtracking.¡¨ While Ravel¡¦s Alborada del gracioso is a wild Spanish dance filled with leaps, twirls and excitement.Frederic Chopin (1810 ¡V 1849) and Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937), while exhibiting considerable differences in their works, are ranked as two of the most eminent composers in their contribution to piano music. Frederic Chopin is often regarded as the ¡§Poet of the Piano,¡¨ being one of the greatest composers of piano music during the Romantic era which focuses on emotionality. The elements of his pianistic style, his sense of lyricism and unparalleled melodic ideas have produced some of the most pure and most beautiful music ever written, propelling Romantic piano music to its greatest heights. On the other hand, Maurice Ravel was influenced by new ideas and concepts in French piano music. This development was marked by a conception of music as a sonorous art rather than simply as a means of expression. This was in direct contrast to the subjective style of the nineteenth century Romantic movement, which placed emphasis on individual feelings and emotions. It can be hypothesized that Chopin remained as a proponent of the Romantic Period in his compositional style, whilst Ravel, however, writing in the twentieth century, reverted to the Classical styles on occasions to gratify his own fascinations. Through the comparison of the musical elements of Chopin¡¦s Ballade in G minor, Op23 and Ravel¡¦s Alborada del gracioso from Miroirs, it becomes evident that Chopin¡¦s work remained within the framework of the Romantic style while Ravel pursued a course which combined elements of Classicism and Impressionism.A Ballade is an instrumental piece with an implied narrative. It has been suggested that this Ballade in G minor was inspired by Polish literary ballads by Mickiewicz; however, any relationship between Chopin¡¦s music and Mickiewicz¡¦s poems is certainly not literal. Unlike many of his contemporaries, most notably Schumann and Liszt, Chopin rarely made literary allusions in the titles of his piano works. Miroirs is one of Ravel¡¦s most popular sets of piano pieces. The title was drawn from the pictorial and evocative moods of the pieces and symbolizes the ¡§mirrors of reality¡¨ (Myers 1960). The pieces reveal some of Ravel¡¦s rich, exotic and distinctive musical style with the Alborada del gracioso reflecting Ravel¡¦s fascination with Spanish elements and qualities. Alborada del gracioso is a morning song about the sharp-witted ¡¥fool¡¦ of Spanish classical plays.These two piece, however, are in contrast stylistically. They may not necessarily be indicative of their respective...

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