Years ago, if a French composer had too many Jewish associates, it was assumed he was Jewish too. Thus Maurice Ravel, of Basque origin, was included in “Judentum und Musik,” a 1937 Nazi publication, as noted in the well-researched “The Twisted Muse: Musicians and Their Music in the Third Reich” by Michael H. Kater.
A Ravel amanuensis, possibly his Belgian Jewish critic friend Roland-Manuel, demurred, even though Ravel’s pupils included Jews like the conductor/composer Manuel Rosenthal and pianist Vlado Perlemuter. Ravel’s genuine affection for Jewish culture led him to create works like “Deux mélodies hébraïques” (“Two Hebraic Melodies”) and “Chanson Hébraïque” (“Hebraic Song”).
On April 29 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., “An Evening of French Jewish Music” presented by Pro Musica Hebraica will include these Ravel works. Pro Musica Hebraica was founded by the political pundit Charles Krauthammer, whose qualified approval of torture last year raised some hackles, and his wife Robyn, an Australian-born painter/sculptor.
Recommend this article
This article has been sent!Close