Maurice Ravel

(1875 - 1937)


Here are some famous and not-so-famous quotes by the composer, giving an idea of his views on music and musicians.

“The only love affair I have ever had was with music.”

“Music, I feel, must be emotional first and intellectual second.”

“Why become a second-rate Ravel when you’re already a first-rate Gershwin?”

--Ravel to George Gershwin, who wanted to study composition with Ravel

“I am not one of the great composers. All the great have produced enormously. There is everything in their work--the best and the worst, but there is always quantity. But I have written relatively little. I did my work slowly, drop by drop.”

“For Debussy the musician and the man I have had profound admiration, but by nature I’m different from him.  I think I have always personally followed a direction opposed to that of the symbolism of Debussy.”

“My objective is technical perfection.”

“I still have so much music in my head...I haven’t said anything yet, and I have still so much to say!”

--Ravel late in life, towards the onset of his final illness

“My own music, is quite simply, nothing but Mozart.”

“There are in fact two types of music: that which pleases and that which is boring.”