Ratner, Leonard G(ilbert)

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Ratner, Leonard G(ilbert)

Ratner, Leonard G(ilbert) , esteemed American musicologist, music theorist, teacher, and composer; b. Minneapolis, July 30, 1916. He learned to play the violin and viola, and received instruction in composition from Frederick Jacobi, Arnold Schoenberg, Ernest Bloch, and Arthur Bliss. He studied musicology under Manfred Bukofzer at the Univ. of Calif, at Berkeley, where he was the first to be awarded a Ph.D. in music (diss. on the harmonic aspects of classic form, 1947). In 1947 he joined the faculty of Stanford Univ., where he was made a prof. in 1957. He retired in 1984. In 1962–63 he held a Guggenheim fellowship. In 1998 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was made an honorary member of the American Musico-logical Soc. Ratner is particularly known for his contributions to the study of 18th and 19th century music.


Music: The Listener’s Art (N.Y., 1957; 3rd ed., 1977); Harmony: Structure and Style (N.Y., 1962); Classic Music: Expression, Form, and Style (N.Y., 1980); The Musical Experience (Stanford, 1983); Romantic Music: Sound and Syntax (N.Y., 1992); The Beethoven String Quartets: Compositional Strategies and Rhetoric (Stanford, 1995).


DRAMATIC : The Trojan Women, incidental music to Euripides’s play (1944); Jacob, allegorical dance (1950); The Oresteia, incidental music to Aeschylus’s play (1951); Lazarus Laughed, incidental music to O’Neill’s play (1951); The Necklace, chamber opera after Maupassant (1960). Orch.: Sym. (1942); Suite for Strings (1946); Pastorale (1947); Concertino for Trumpet and Strings (1955); Harlequin, overture (1957); Overture for a Carnival (1960); Film Music (1961). CHAMBERS string trios (1939, 1942); 2 violin sonatas (1939, 1952); 2 string quartets (1942, 1953); Oboe Sonatina (1944); Serenade for Oboe, Horn, and String Quartet (1950); Divertissement for Oboe, Horn, and Bassoon (1950); Cello Sonata (1953); Sonata for Oboe and Clarinet (1954); Piano Sonata (1954). VOCAL : 4 Songs, after Oscar Wilde (1953); Out Upon It, madrigal for Chorus, after Suckling (1957).


W. Allanbrook, J. Levy, and W. Mahrt, eds., Convention in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Music: Essays in Honor ofL. G. R .(Stuyvesant, N.Y., 1992).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire