Reputation and remembrance: the tombeau supplement, 'La revue musicale'

Minors, Helen Julia (2013) Reputation and remembrance: the tombeau supplement, 'La revue musicale'. In: Eighth Biennial International Conference on Music Since 1900; 12 - 15 Sep 2013, Liverpool, U.K.. (Unpublished)


This paper examines the musical supplements, entitled ‘tombeau’, which were published in La revue musicale. Tombeau’s were dedicated to specific composers, including Claude Debussy (1920), Pierre de Ronsard (1924), Erik Satie (1925) and Paul Dukas (1936). A notion of reputation and memory is constructed with reference the cultural context and canon construction. Moreover, the accompanying volume offers a document of reception, analysis and creative evidence which deserves attention. The eight melodie supplement dedicated to the poet Pierre de Ronsard (1524–1585), commissioned by Henry Prunières (1886–1942), editor of the journal La revue musicale, to accompany a special issue of his journal dedicated to this poet in 1924 is particularly significant due to its appropriation of the poet’s text. This paper seeks to expose how French composers (consisting of Aubert, Caplet, Delage, Dukas, Honegger, Ravel, Roland-Manuel, Roussel) responded to the work of Ronsard (1924). I aim to expose the word-music interaction between Ronsard’s 16th century poetry and the twentieth century French composers’ music (via selective examples). In what way do these tombeaux construct or consolidate a canon of French music? Are they a ‘monument’ (Prunières) to constructing a national message and to establishing cultural value? Do they construct and support composer’s ‘reputations’ (see Kelly, 2012; Wheeldon 2010; Puri 2007; Orledge 2000; and Abbate 1999)? This particular tombeau bears out the genre as collaborative and commemorative (Vendrix 1994). Notions of memory, nostalgia and homage underpin the discussion, and iterate the importance of these collective works in studying the reception of particular composers and other artists.

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