Rorem’s affinity with French music

“Bartók’s music as a whole is a music I never think about when its not around.  It’s impeccable, it’s theatrical, it’s even great.  It dazzles, thrills, horrifies, sometimes irritates, but also moves me.  But I’m not touched by it, as by, for instance, the outset of the quartet by Ravel – Ravel, supposed to be icy, formal, above all that.  The notion that French music is objective, nose-thumbing, brittle, anti-romantic, is a notion I’ve never grasped.  French music makes me cry.”

Ned Rorem (2000) Lies: A Diary 1986-1999.  Cambridge: MA: Da Capo Press, p.34.