Ravel, Le Tombeau de Couperin

“The dead are sad enough, in their eternal silence.” – Maurice Ravel, referring to his friends, musicians and artists, who served in World War I. While seldom remembered, many composers and artists left what they felt to be their life calling in both World War I and World War II. Ravel composed Le Tombeau de Couperin with each movement as a memorial to one of his friends. Often, they did not meet the physical requirements for military service and had to find a back door, as an ambulance driver, or even paying a bribe because they felt so strongly that it was their duty to serve. Despite his fame and poor health, Ravel himself enlisted at the age of 40 and served in the 13th Artillery Regiment during World War I. The Tombeau is a tribute to his friends, who lost their lives in service, and the work was criticized for not sounding sad enough. Thus the quote at the beginning of this post… “The dead are sad enough, in their eternal silence.” I love this piece because I believe that we must connect to our history in order to experience the present and future. I post today for all of my friends and family who have lost loved ones this year and for the many beautiful souls that we all miss!

Karine Stone