this is my box, this is my box, i never travel without my box...
May 6, 2012 1:53 PM   Subscribe

Help me help a friend: which (probably romantic-era) composer wrote a piece about a Chinese lacquer box? I have searched like crazy and found nothing.
posted by naturalog to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I am wondering whether it isn't actually Debussy, but my friend said that Chinese was specified.
posted by naturalog at 1:56 PM on May 6, 2012

Graeme Revell?
posted by figment of my conation at 2:17 PM on May 6, 2012

could you give more details about the piece? Which instrument was it written for? Can your friend give you any details about the music itself -- ie was it in a typical Western style (with traditional harmony)? Does your friend know if it was inspired by Chinese music or just a Chinese lacquer box?
posted by ditto75 at 4:09 PM on May 6, 2012

Response by poster: That is the only information I've been given and the only information my friend has. It is Western music by a Western composer.
posted by naturalog at 5:44 PM on May 6, 2012

I thought there was a lacquer box in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, but after a lazy effort, search engines are telling me that that is how some reviewers described the set of a specific performance. Still, if you have more energy than I, maybe explore that route?
posted by trip and a half at 6:00 PM on May 6, 2012

The relevant Debussy piece of course being La boîte à joujoux (The Toybox). But as you noted, it’s not really about the box, and there’s no connection with China that I can think of.

I think this is what figment of my conation was thinking of, but it doesn’t seem like a soundtrack is a great fit either.

TIm Ashley’s description of Ravel’s Ma mère l'oye (Mother Goose) as a Chinese box seems to be entirely his own imagery.

This is a hard one to crack.
posted by musicinmybrain at 12:08 AM on May 7, 2012

By the way, IMSLP (the botched link from my previous response) has a beautiful set of illustrations for La boîte à joujoux by André Hellé that may be of interest regardless.
posted by musicinmybrain at 12:13 AM on May 7, 2012

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