Sunday, March 9, 2008

Joseph-Maurice Ravel

Illness and death

In 1932 Ravel sustained a blow to the head in a taxi accident. The injury was considered minor, but soon thereafter he began to complain of aphasia-like symptoms similar to Pick's disease. He had begun work on music for a film version of Don Quixote (1933) featuring the Russian bass Feodor Chaliapin and directed by G. W. Pabst. When Ravel became unable to compose, he could not write down the musical ideas he heard in his mind, Pabst hired Jacques Ibert.

In late 1937 Ravel consented to experimental brain surgery. One hemisphere of his brain was re-inflated with serous fluid. He awoke from the surgery, called for his brother Edouard, lapsed into a coma and died shortly after. He is buried in Levallois-Perret, a suburb of northwest Paris.