From the white page to the staff paper: when Ravel got possession of Renard’s animals.

Liana Püschel


In 1907 Maurice Ravel decided to convert into mélodies (typical French genre of songs) five prose works taken from the collection Les Histoires Naturelles written by Jules Renard; the musician’s aim was to say with music what the writer said with words, but from the work emerges a personal interpretation of the texts. This paper studies the musical adaptation of the stories through the analysis of the score and of the cultural context.

The little songs are a distillation of irony and refinement and, because of their apparently banal and prosaic content, they arose scandal at their first performance. Ravel’s animals do not display shallowness in order to outrage the audience, they aim to introduce a new idea of music indifferent to rhetoric and to inauthentic aspirations.


Ravel; Renard; Mélodie;Epiphany;Adaptation

Full Text:

PDF (Italiano)


Calvocoressi, Michel-Dimitri, Musicians Gallery: Music and Ballet in Paris and London, London, Faber, 1933.

Dahlhaus, Carl, Zwischen Romantik und Moderne. 4 Studien zur Musikgeschichte des späteren 19. Jahrhunderts (1974), trad. in. Between Romanticism and Modernism: Four Studies in the Music of the Later Nineteenth Century, University of California Press, 1980.

de Incontrera, Carlo (ed.), “All'ombra delle fanciulle in fiore”. La musica in Francia nell'età di Proust, Monfalcone, Teatro Comunale di Monfalcone, 1988.

de Régner, Henri, Les Rencontres de M. de Bréot, Paris, Mercure de France, 1904.

Gauthier-Villars, Henry, Soirées perdues, Paris, Tresse et Stock, 1894.

Goubault, Christian, Maurice Ravel, le jardin féerique, Paris, Minerve, 2004.

Guichard, Léon, Dans la vigne de Jules Renard, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1966.

Guichard, Léon, L'interprétation graphique, cinématographique et musicale des œuvres de Jules Renard, Paris, Nizet et Bastard, 1937.

Huebner, Steven, “Laughter: in Ravel’s time”, Cambridge Opera Journal, 18 (2006): 225-246.

Jankélévitch, Vladimir, Ravel, Paris, Seuil, 1977.

Kolakowski, Leszek, Bergson (1985), trad. it. Bergson, Bari, Palomar, 2005.

Le Roux, François - Raynaldy, Romain, Le chant intime, Paris, Fayard, 2004.

Lesure, François, Claude Debussy: lettres 1884-1918, Paris, Hermann, 1980.

Lisciani-Petrini, Enrica, Il suono incrinato. Musica e filosofia nel primo Novecento, Einaudi, Torino, 2001.

Lisciani-Petrini, Enrica, Memoria e poesia: Bergson, Jankélévitch, Heidegger, Napoli, Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, 1983.

Marnat, Marcel, Ravel, Paris, Fayard, 1986.

Noske, Frits, La mélodie française de Berlioz a Duparc: essai de critique historique, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 1954.

Orenstein, Arbie, Ravel. Man and musician, Toronto, Columbia University Press, 1991.

Pirandello, Luigi, Quaderni di Serafino Gubbio operatore (1925), Milano, Mondadori, 2010.

Pound, Ezra, “In a Station Of The Metro”, Poetry Magazine, April 1913.

Rella, Franco, Miti e figure del moderno, Parma, Pratiche, 1981.

Renard, Jules, Histoires naturelles, Paris, Flammarion, 1904

Renard, Jules, Journal 1887-1910, Paris, Gallimard, 1971.

Renard, Jules, Œuvres complètes, Ed. Léon Guichard, Paris, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 1970.

Restagno, Enzo, Ravel e l’anima delle cose, Milano, Il Saggiatore, 2009.

Sérieyx, Auguste, «Les oeuvres récemment exécutées à Paris», Revue musicale, 7.3, 01.02.1907: 52.

Taruskin, Richard, Oxford History of Western Music: Music in the Early Twentieth Century, Oxford University Press, 2009.

Taylor, Charles, Sources of the self: the making of the modern identity, Harvard University Press, 1989.

Testi, Flavio, La Parigi musicale del primo Novecento: cronache e documenti, Torino, EDT, 2003.



Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM

Between Journal is published by the University of Cagliari - Maintenance for this OJS installation is provided by UniCA  Open Journals, hosted by Sistema Bibliotecario di Ateneo.

Between Journal is published with the funding of the Bank of Sardinia Foundation.

ISSN 2039-6597

CC-By lockssDOAJ seal SPARC Europe