Far-fetched?

The French composer Maurice Ravel may have left a hidden message – a woman’s name – inside his work. A sequence of three notes occurring repeatedly through his work spells out the name of a famous Parisian socialite says Ravel expert David Lamaze.

He argues that the notes, E, B, A in musical notation, or “Mi-Si-La” in the French doh-re-mi scale, refer to Misia Sert, a close friend of Ravel’s. Well known in art circles, she was painted by Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec.

Ravel never married, but Misia was married three times. Ravel composed some of his work while staying on a boat belonging to Misia and her second husband.

Hmmmm, I must say it all sounds like a bit of a stretch to me. If ‘Mi-Si-La’ is the closest you can get, then why bother? This later bit, referring to La Valse, sounds even more stretched: “At the beginning, in depicting a man and woman dancing a Viennese Waltz, he entwines Mi-Si-La with A and E – thought to denote Ravel.”

Anyway, I’ll leave it up to you guys to decide. The full article appears on the BBC’s web site today. Titled ‘Hidden clue to composer’s passion’, you can read the article in full here.