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

  • Liana Püschel University of Turin
Keywords: Ravel, Renard, Mélodie, Epiphany, Adaptation


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.


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Author Biography

Liana Püschel, University of Turin
Liana Püschel obtained her Ph.D in Modern and Classic Cultures at the University of Turin and is honorary fellowship in Musicology at the same university. Her studies are focused on the relationship between music and other arts, and, in particular, on the intersemiotic translation strategies employed in the musical theatre and the chamber vocal music between the XIXth and the XXth century. Her areas of interest include the works of Modest Mussorgsky, Giacomo Puccini, Maurice Ravel and Lili Boulanger. She held lessons about musical history in the University of Turin and several popular speeches for various associations. Now she collaborates with musical associations and press agencies in Turin and is teacher assistant in the Laboratory of Active Musical Listening at the Faculty of Literature and Philosophy of the University of Turin.


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How to Cite
Püschel, L. (2012). From the white page to the staff paper: when Ravel got possession of Renard’s animals. Between, 2(4).