Musique(s) & Image(s) - Maurice Ravel

Musique(s) & Image(s) - Maurice Ravel

Ravel, a cherished child of the art of cinema:

A great feeling of sadness washes over us when we realise that we will never be able to hear the opera that Maurice Ravel wished to devote to Joan of Arc after reading the eponymous work by Joseph Delteil. This feeling is even stronger when we learn that Maurice Ravel never composed an original soundtrack - the only project that could have ever seen the light of day was finally entrusted to Jacques Ibert. If the sublime and extravagant song cycle Don Quichotte à Dulcinée, born of this missed opportunity, did not redeem this "historical error", it is safe to say that the composer has since been avenged: Ravel has even become a soundtrack favourite!














Maurice Ravel - Don Quichotte à Dulcinée 
for baritone & orchestra
Orchestre de l'Opéra national de Lyon
José van Dam, baritone
Kent Nagano, conductor
© EMI Classics 2005

Take the famous Boléro. Shortly after its stage premiere in 1928, it became the title and central element of a film by Wesley Ruggles (1934). The story continues after the war with various cinematic masterpieces in which the Boléro is used to underline the fatal circularity of destiny, in films signed by eminent directors: Rashômon (1950) by Akira KurosawaStalker (1979) by Andrei TarkovskiLes Uns et les Autres (1981) by Claude Lelouch, and Magnolia (1999) by Paul Thomas Anderson, and Femme Fatale (2002) by Brian de Palma. The list goes on!

Les Uns et les Autres by Claude Lelouch (1981)

And so shall we: Pavanepour une Infante Défuntehas an equally distinguished track record: Porco Rosso(1995) by Hayao MiyazakiIl Divo (2008) by Paolo Sorrentino, the famous scene from Dark Knight Rises (2012) with Christian BaleBirdman (2014) by Alejandro González Iñárritu with another legendary Batman, Michael Keaton.


The Dark Knight Rises by Christopher Nolan (2012)

Don’t think that it’s only Hollywood superhero productions that have been fascinated by the almost insolent beauty of Ravel’s greatest works. Since Un Coeur en Hiver, the unforgettable drama by Claude Sautet with a strong Ravelian influence from start to finish (released in theatres in 1992) and notably a Trio avec piano more poignant than ever, the contemporary art film has been regularly fond of the composer of Jardin Féérique and Une Barque sur l’Océan: proof can be heard in feature films such as The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) by the whimsical Wes Anderson or, closer to the key themes of our time, Call Me By Your Name (2017) by the delicate Luca Guadagnino.

No doubt about it: the greatest film music composer of the 20th century is called... Maurice Ravel.

Maurice Ravel © DR

Posters :
Stalker (1979)
Andreï Tarkovski

Call Me by Your Name (2017)
Luca Guadagnino

Femme fatale (2002)
Brian De Palma

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Wes Anderson

Les Uns et les Autres (1981)
Claude Lelouch

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Christopher Nolan

Un Cœur en Hiver (1992)
Claude Sautet