The Godebski family

One of the closest of Ravel's enduring friendships was with the Godebskis, a Polish family living in Paris who were originally friends of Ravel's father. The family included:
    Cipa (Xavier Cyprien) Godebski  (1874 - 1937)
    Ida  (1872 - 1935),  his wife
    Mimie  (1899 - 1949) and Jean,  their children
    Misia,  Cipa's sister

Although they were of modest means, living in the rue Saint-Florentin, and then in rue d'Athènes, the family was artistic and held Sunday evenings at home for many musicians and painters, including Roussel, and Florent Schmitt. Cipa had also given support to Toulouse-Lautrec, who painted his portrait. Ravel dedicated his Sonatine to Cipa and Ida.

After the death of Ravel's father, the Godebskis became in effect his second family. He often stayed at their country house La Grangette, at Valvins near Fontainebleau, and it was here that Ravel completed his composition of Ma mère l'oye for Mimie and Jean. It was intended that the two children should give the work's first performance, but the terror of that prospect was too much for them, and in the event the piece was played by Jeanne Leleu and Geneviève Durony.

Mimie later recalled how her father and Ravel, close friends as they were, used to argue fiercely over musical matters, especially Mozart, who for Ravel was "pure genius", whereas Cipa loudly asserted his boredom with so many repetitions and elaborations. (Godebska Blacque-Belair [1938])

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