[Ravel, Maurice. (1875-1937)] Auric, Georges. (1899-1983)
"Alphabet" - SIGNED PRESENTATION COPY TO RAVEL
Paris: Max Eschig. 1924.
A fine presentation copy of seven songs by the important French composer and member of Les Six, signed and inscribed on the first page of music: "A Maurice Ravel, hommage de Georges Auric, Juin 1924." 11 pp. Light overall toning; otherwise in fine condition. 11 x 14 inches (27 x 35.2 cm).
Auric entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of fourteen and was soon an acquaintance of Stravinsky, Cocteau, Milhaud, Honneger and Satie. By the time of this inscription, the young prodigy had become a successful composer and was commissioned to write ballets for Diaghilev and Ida Rubinstein, as well as music for dadaist and surrealist productions. The inscription to Ravel is interesting in that Auric and Ravel were known not to have a smooth relationship; the members of Les Six, and especially Auric, saw Ravel as part of the establishment against which they were rebelling. However, Auric was apparently impressed with Ravel's 1925 opera L'Enfant et les sortilèges, and wrote a warm tribute to him after his death. (See: http://www.maurice-ravel.net/auric.htm).
"In the seven Radiguet settings of Alphabet (1920), Auric's ready wit rises...to the fore with his delightful parody of Grieg in 'Filet a papillons' (no. 4) and its second song ('Bateau') which is half tango and half mazurka (with a passing reference to a Chopin waltz). The start of 'Hirondelle' shows that Auric had taken Poulenc's first Mouvement perpetuel to heart, making it superficially his own through acciaccaturas, rhythm and pianistic range. Similarly, the start of Escarpin (no. 7) suggests that he was a neo-romantic as much as a neoclassicist." (Robert Orledge, "Satie & Les Six" in "French Music Since Berlioz," ed. Richard Langham Smith, Caroline Potter (Ashgate, 2006), p. 241)