Wednesday, August 1, 2007

ravel and the third stream cont.

We know now that Ravel first began to show signs of neurological problems in 1927, and over the next several years, he experienced progressive muscle problems and aphasia, or the inability to speak. Neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin has written that Ravel suffered brain damage that impaired his ability to hear pitch*. He began to show signs of dementia, worsened by a car crash he suffered in 1932. Over the next few years, he became unable to understand the written word, and he lost all ability to communicate through speech or writing. Finally, after an unsuccessful brain operation, he died in Paris on December 28, 1937, one week prior to my six-month birthday.

*Interested in the neurological and psychological aspects of music and composers? Check out This is your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin.