Maison Hérold holds a very special place in the life and work of the famous French composer Maurice Ravel (1875-1937). Indeed it is here within these walls that he composed one of his major works, La Valse (1920).
At the end of the First World War, Maurice Ravel sank into a severe depression. He lost his beloved mother on January 5, 1917 and the war had undermined him. His family and friends were very concerned. The musician no longer worked and it was feared that he had tuberculosis.
One evening he talked about his problems with André Ferdinand Hérold and his wife. As recounted by Mr. Hérold in La Revue Musicale (1938), the couple invited him to stay at their property in the Ardèche. By the end of 1919, Mr. Hérold set up Ravel in his home in Lapras and left him alone with his melancholy. There he regained his taste for life and work.
“Deux mélodies hébraïques” and “La Valse”
While living at Maison Hérold, Ravel did not get over his mother’s death but did return to work. He orchestrated his piece Deux Mélodies Hébraïques, composed in St. Jean de Luz in May 1914 and created his masterpiece La Valse:
“I designed this work as a kind of apotheosis of the Viennese waltz with which the impression of a fantastic and fatal whirling mingles in my mind”
Esquisses Biographiques, 1928.