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“I am not a ‘modern composer’ in the actual sense of the term, as my music – far from being revolutionary, is rather a development. Although I have always been open for new ideas, I have never tried to upset the accepted laws of harmony and composition. On the contrary, I have always generously derived my inspiration from the old masters, and my music is largely built upon the traditions of the past, and has, so to speak, grown out of it.

I am not a ‘modern composer’ with the tendency to write radical harmonies and a chopped up counterpoint, as I have never been a slave to a certain compositional style. I have also never attached myself to a special school.

I have always felt, that a composer should write, what he feels, and how he feels it – without taking into account, what kind of compositional style is passable at this moment. Great music, I have always felt, must always come from the heart. Music that only grows from technique and contemplation, is not worth the paper it's written on.

That has always been my argument against the so-called modern music of the young rebellious composers. Their music is a product of their mind, and not of their heart. First, they set up theories that have been worked out, and then they compose music, which satisfies these theories. They make up wonderful reasons, why the music of our age must be broken and dried up, why it is mathematical and rational (as an expression of the machine age).

Then they carried it further, and composed this type of music, in order to justify their theories. That is the reason why I have never taken the work of experimenting composers too seriously. I have always regarded it as an intellectual pose. And great music has never been the result of any pose.”

Maurice Ravel       



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