Presented at the Grieg Conference in Bergen May 31, 2007
Juliette L. Appold, USA
Manuscript Cataloger, Musicologist
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Edvard Grieg, Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.
Biographical issues and a comparison of their string Quartets
Looking at the biographies of Grieg, Debussy and Ravel makes us realise, that there are few, yet some similarities in the way their career as composers were shaped. In my introductory paragraph I will point out some of these aspects.
The three composers received their first musical training in their childhood, between the age of six (Grieg) and nine (Debussy) (Ravel was seven). They all entered the conservatory in their early teenage years (Debussy was 10, Ravel 14, Grieg 15 years old) and they all had more or less difficult experiences when they seriously thought about a musical career. In Grieg’s case it happened twice in his life. Once, when a school teacher ridiculed one of his first compositions in front of his class-mates. The second time was less drastic but more subtle during his studies at the Leipzig Conservatory until 1862. Grieg had despised the pedagogical methods of some teachers and felt that he did not improve in his composition studies or even learn anything. On the other hand he was successful in his piano-classes with Carl Ferdinand Wenzel and Ignaz Moscheles, who had put a strong emphasis on the expression in his playing.
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Juliette Appold paper 2007