Fascination

This popular song has sometimes been said to have been ghost-written by Ravel for F. D. Marchetti, in 1904, with a text by Maurice de Féraudy. One of those who supported that view was Manuel Rosenthal.

There seems however to be no substantive evidence for attributing this piece to Ravel, since Marchetti was an established composer of dance music and songs in Paris.

Mario Germani has published an account of Marchetti's life and music in "Dante (Fermo) Marchetti, massese, l'autore di Fascination", in the magazine "Le Apuane" anno XI n° 22 - novembre 1991. He was born Dante Pilade Marchetti, in Massa (near Carrara, in Tuscany) on 28 August 1876. (He was called Fermo - meaning "constant" - in the family and also in some official documents.) He studied music in Massa and La Spezia where he was took his diploma in pianoforte, composition, and violin. He played first violin in the Carlo Felice Theatre Orchestra in Genoa, before moving to Paris, where he devoted himself to composition and direction of concerts in Montmartre. He became successful enough to open a publishing business, the Editions Marchetti, at 22 chaussée d'Antin, which survived until the second World War. He died in Paris on 11 June 1940.

Marchetti composed many "ballabili" (pieces for dancing: waltzes, minuets, marches, galops, in "belle epoque" style), and also an Ave Maria, and O salutaris Hostia. "Fascination" was first composed for instruments only. When it became popular, Paulette d'Ardy made him adopt the text written by Maurice de Feraudy, member of the Comédie Française.
(Thanks to Pietro Baruffetti for this information.)

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