By Leeds Music Corporation
Piano song booklet
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Additional info for 40 More Hits of Our Times, Book 2
Yet among contemporary French musicians there was a unique voice, a composer who spoke against the idea of sincerity in music and whose blatant dissent allows us better to understand this puzzling disparity of positions. Ironically, this voice belonged to one of Fauré’s own students, Maurice Ravel. While interviewing Ravel in 1927, the American critic Olin Downes made passing reference to the question of a composer’s sincerity. ”66 Ravel expressed his contempt for the idea of sincerity several times between 1924 and 1931.
29 While we might immediately presume that only the older and more conservative artists opposed this atmosphere of selfpromotion, there was no clear-cut generational division. For instance, the cubist painter and poet Max Jacob, associated with Picasso and Apollinaire, had as little patience as Fauré or Debussy for arrivistes. ”30 Brash personal ambition, often designated by the word “tapage” – blatant or noisy publicity – certainly troubled composers and critics alike, but selfpromotion, albeit louder than before, was hardly a newcomer to the Parisian musical scene.
Behind the noble, eulogizing vapors that waft through critical discourses about Fauré, there is indeed something of substance. Fauré’s and Messager’s profound liberality clearly set them apart from contemporaries such as Saint-Saëns and d’Indy, both of whom, in very diﬀerent ways, placed limits on the possibilities of musical expression by insisting on ﬁxed principles of form and style. The concept of sincerity, on the other hand, places no deﬁnite limits on style or expression. It is neutral to style, and this crucial property accounted in no small part for Fauré’s success with his students, his beneﬁcent inﬂuence on musical life, and his high repute with composers as young as Auric and Milhaud, some ﬁfty years his juniors.