Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

  • The only love affair I have ever had was with music.
  • You might lose your spontaneity and, instead of composing first-rate Gershwin, end up with second-rate Ravel. (to George Gershwin when declining to instruct him in composition)
  • Music, I feel, must be emotional first and intellectual second.
  • We should always remember that sensitiveness and emotion constitute the real content of a work of art.
  • I begin by considering an effect.
  • Remember that I wrote a pavane for a dead princess, and not a dead pavane for a princess!
  • I did my work slowly, drop by drop. I tore it out of me by pieces.
  • I am not one of the great composers. All the greats have produced enormously. There is everything in their work — the best and the worst — but there is always quantity. I have written relatively little.
  • My intention here is to make it clear that not a single cell of my composition… is found by chance or intuition, that the composition moved towards perfection with the precision and inevitability of a mathematical equation.