Arun Rao, 'Pierrots Faches Avec La Lune': Debussy, Faure and Ravel during World War I (Other, Dublin Institute of Technology, 2013)

These details defined Mon Jan 5 17:45:46 2015  edit
 Author:  Rao, Arun 
 Title:  'Pierrots Faches Avec La Lune': Debussy, Faure and Ravel during World War I 
 Degree, institution:  Other, Dublin Institute of Technology 
 Status, year:  accepted, 2013 (2013) 
 Volumes, pp.:  1 (109pp) 
 Supervisor(s):  Dr Marian Deasy 
 Repository:  DIT Conservatory of Music & Drama Library 
 General specialism:  Musicology 
 Content, key terms: 

This MMus dissertation proposes to consider the music of French composers Claude Debussy, Gabriel Faure and Maurice Ravel written during the Great War, under tremendous professional, personal and cultural pressures. These pressures are examined largely through these composers' correspondence and the writings of contemporary critics, composers and artists in the first two chapters; a selection of their output from the war years, in particular their piano works and their chamber music, is the subject of the third chapter.

The aim of the dissertation is to reveal certain aspirations common to all three, aspirations that were motivated, dictated even, by the political and cultural context and powerful enough to sustain their musical creativity in traumatic times. These were: a) a return to the values of a French tradition heralded by contemporary scholars, critics and musicians around 1900, that of the sevetneenth and eighteenth centuries composers, of which Rameau had been the greatest representative; b) a desire to create a distinctly contemporary musical language that was appropriate for its time and reflected a cautious yet resolute positioning in the musical avant-garde; c) a yearning for artistic independence from constricting ideological discourses or aesthetic movements.

The dissertation considers these wartime compositions under various perspectives: as an integral part of the war effort; as major contributions to the modern scene of that period; as the culmination of the oeuvre of Debussy and Faure since the last decades of the nineteenth century, and Ravel's ouvre since the early 1900s. It is hoped that it will open the door to a new interpretation of these works, that of compelling expressions of artistic escapism.