A secret dedication hidden in Maurice Ravel's music - Home

Page 16

Le coeur de l'horloge
A letter.
(or why you should always have your Duchesneau on you)

For those who want to know the hell a researcher life can be, I give this little brain-teaser.
Let's suppose that someone sends you the text of a letter, asking you what it means.
Let's imagine the text is :

"l'Ermitage   1/2   06

Mon cher ami, comme je vs l'ai télégraphié, Mme Russel chantera Samedi. J'ai été obligé d'insister, car elle doit être en scène ce même soir à 10 h, aux Mathurins. (mort de Tintagiles)

J'ai arrangé tout cela. Elle chantera en costume, ou s'habillera en auto. S'il en est besoin, on fera une (p2) annonce, et elle passera avant la sonate. Ns n'avons répété qu'une fois jusqu'à présent, mais je ne suis pas inquiet avec un si bonne musicienne. Elle doit voir votre mère pour les mouvements, et ns ns reverrons Samedi matin.

Je vs écrirai pour vous rendre compte de la (p3) soirée.

Avez-vous lu le Temps ?

Suivant Lalo, je ne suis plus tant sous l'influence de Debussy maintenant, que sous celle de Séverac. C'est étonnant, n'est-ce pas ?

Cordialement à vous

Maurice Ravel"

First of all, you must translate it in your mother tongue :

"l'Ermitage  Fébruary 1st 1906                                                        
My dear friend, as I have wired you, Mrs Russel will sing Saturday. I had to insist, because must be on stage the same evening à 10, at the Mathurins  [theatre]. (mort de Tintagiles).
I fixed up all this. She will sing in costume or will dress in the car. If it is needed, one will make announcement and she will pass before the sonata. We have only repeated once until now, but I fear nothing with a so good musician. She has to see your mother for the tempi, and we are meeting again Saturday morning.
I shall write and make an account to you of the evening.
Have you read le Temps ?
According to Lalo, I am not as under Debussy's influence now, as under that of Séverac. Surprising, isn't it?
Kind regards
Maurice Ravel"

Now, what's the matter ?
The title should not make us believe that Ravel-the-atheist has changed of mind and gone into retreat. He is at l'Ermitage, i.e. Jean Marnold's villa, in Draveil.
But the real question is to whom is that letter addressed ?
The first reading being unable to reveal it, let us try a second :
Ravel accompanied a musician, Mrs Russel, that shouldl sing next saturday, but she had stil to
"see your mother for the tempi"...

I let you think over this during two minutes before hearing your deductions...


David Lamaze
Le Cygne de Ravel ~ Le Coeur de l'horloge