Tag Archives: Ravel

Ravel – Daphnis et Chloé, Suite n°2 (Seiji Ozawa)

Ravel – Daphnis et Chloé, Suite n°2 (Seiji Ozawa)



Ravel: Miroirs III. Une Barque sur L’Ocean (André Laplante)

Ravel: Miroirs III. Une Barque sur L’Ocean (André Laplante)

Wilhelm Furtwängler “Rapsodie espagnole” Ravel: unique musical moments


Wilhelm Furtwängler “Rapsodie espagnole” Ravel

Rapsodie espagnole by Maurice Ravel
1. Prélude à la nuit: Très modéré
2. Malaguena: Assez vif
3. Habanera: Assez lent et d`un rythme las
4. Feria:Assez animé
Wiener Philharmoniker
Wilhelm Furtwängler, conductor
Stuttgart, 22.XI.1951


great compositions/performances: S. Ozawa Conucts Pavane pour une Infante Defunte (Ravel)


S. Ozawa Conucts Pavane pour une Infante Defunte (Ravel)

Maurice Ravel:

Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte,
(Pavane for a Dead Princess), Orchestral Version composed by Ravel in 1910.

Conductor: Seiji Ozawa
Orchestra: Boston Symphony Orchestra

historic musical momants: Ravel plays Ravel – Valses Nobles et Sentimentales (1913 Welte Mignon Recording)


Ravel plays Ravel – Valses Nobles et Sentimentales (1913 Welte Mignon Recording)

An excellent reproduction of Ravel’s 1913 Welte Mignon reproducing piano recording. This recording is free of the tempo hiccups and pedaling errors which hackneyed previous releases. The mechanism of the Welte Mignon reproducing piano system is not fully understood, as the inner workings of the units were a heavily guarded secret. There are no known Welte Mignon recording units still in existence. There were very few to begin with, and all were either dismantled or destroyed during World War II.

Special thanks to Professor Anatole Leikin of the University of California, Santa Cruz for recommending this fantastic recording and taking time to answer my questions about reproducing pianos. Be sure to pick up Professor Leikin’s fantastic new book, “The Performing Style of Alexander Scriabin” in which he explores the nuances of this unique composer’s performing style in the broader context of Romantic performance practice. Follow the link below to purchase this wonderful book!

Link to book:

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GREAT COMPOSITIONS/PERFORMANCES: Boléro – Maurice Ravel – Münchner Philharmoniker – Sergiu Celibidache


BoléroMaurice Ravel – Münchner Philharmoniker – Sergiu Celibidache

Sergiu Celibidache dirigiert die Münchner Philharmoniker; Maurice Ravel: Boléro

Inhaltsangabe der TV-Zeitschrift “Gong“:
Anläßlich des Geburtstages von Sergiu Celibidache am 28. Juni zeigt das ZDF eine Aufzeichnung des glanzvollen Interpretation von Maurice Ravels “Bolero” von 1983.

(VHS-Mitschnitt, ZDF, 1987)

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Make Music Part of Your Life Series: Maurice Ravel – Valses Nobles et Sentimentales, I-V

Valses nobles et sentimentales, for piano (or orchestra) (1911)

I. Modéré
II. Assez lent
III. Modéré
IV. Assez animé
V. Presque lent
VI. Assez vif
VII. Moins vif
VIII. Epilogue: Lent

Philharmonia Slavonica
H. Adolph

Maurice Ravel could be slightly obsessive in the way he allowed certain musical interests to reappear throughout his compositions. Two such interests were dance and the past, and in Valses nobles et sentimentales one can hear how Ravel was able to effectively fuse these two curiosities together. While Le Tombeau de Couperin was inspired by the eighteenth century, the Valses was oriented toward the nineteenth century. Written out of homage to Schubert’s piano piece of the same name, the composer declared that the work’s title, “indicates clearly enough my intention of composing a chain of waltzes following the example of Schubert. The virtuoso element that was the basis of Gaspard de la nuit is here replaced by a writing of greater clarity, which has the effect of sharpening the harmony as well as the outline of the music.” Ravel achieved his goal of clarity, as the waltzes were written using intense precision, sophistication, and technical flawlessness. 

Valses nobles et sentimentales contains eight waltzes presented in the following order: Modéré, Assez lent, Modéré, Assez animé, Presque lent, Assez vif, Moins vif, and the Epilogue. Originally written for solo piano, the waltzes stimulate but do not disturb, while displaying different aspects of Ravel’s imagination including pride, tenderness, and sentiment. The work was dedicated to Louis Aubert and it was he who gave the first performance on May 9, 1911, at a concert held by the Société Musicale Indépendante, where Schubert’s piece of the same name was also premiered. As a little game, the composers’ names were withheld, leaving the audience to guess who had written each piece. Audience suggestions included Eric Satie, Zoltán Kodály, and even a correct answer from Debussy, whose ears could not be fooled by the identifiable quality he appreciated. Even though several of Ravel’s friends confessed their dislike, others claimed to be strongly drawn to the piece. Tristan Klingsor commented that he was one among several who, “were immediately seduced by the music, and yet he had taken a lot of risks, at least for the period….He had taken the use of unresolved dissonances to its furthest point. What we now find very piquant was extremely daring at the time. The first bars of the Valses seemed quite extraordinary. Then, since there was nothing there that was not well thought-out, the ear quickly grew to enjoy these pseudo-‘wrong notes,’ and a glance at the score revealed that they had a proper harmonic justification.” 

As with Ma mère l’oye Ravel allowed only himself to alter Valses nobles et sentimentales through orchestration. He adapted the waltzes for the ballet Adélaïde ou Le langage des fleurs, for a performance by the troupe of Natasha Trouhanova, and it was premiered as an orchestral work on April 22, 1912, at the Théâtre du Châtelet. Some say that the ironic overtones of the Valses foreshadow the superb choreographic poem La Valse while confirming to audiences that dissonance was indeed an essential element of his musical style. [Allmusic.com]

Art by Antoine Blanchard

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Great Compositions/Performances: Pogorelich plays Ravel: Gaspard de la nuit (Ondine – Le Gibet – Scarbo)

Gaspard de la nuit: Trois poèmes pour piano d’après Aloysius Bertrand (1908)

I. Ondine [0:00]
II. Le Gibet [7:36]
III. Scarbo [14:28]

A work for solo piano by French composer Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), based on poetry by the French proto-Symbolist Aloysius Bertrand (1807-1841). The first movement “Ondine” evokes the ethereal realm of the title water-fairy who lures hapless men into her magical lake. The second movement (“Le Gibet”) depicts a different vision: “It is a bell tinting at the walls of a city under the horizon and the carcass of a hanged man reddened by the setting sun.” The third movement “Scarbo” depicts a fiendish creature – perhaps a scarab beetle-like imp – scampering and twirling underneath the bed of the frightened observer. This movement is notorious for its incredible difficulty, since Ravel intended it to surpass Balakirev’s Islamey in technical terms.

The piece is performed by the famous Croatian pianist Ivo Pogorelich.

The text of Bertrand’s poems with English translation is available here:


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Brilliant Compositions: Ravel’s Empress of the Pagodas – Christopher Parkening

This is Ravel‘s “Empress of the Pagodas” played by Christopher Parkening from the great CD: “The Artistry of Christopher Parkening”. Many thanks to ‘Music Publishing Rights Collecting Society‘ for graciously allowing this amazing recording to be shared world wide!

From wikipedia:


Soirée donnée par Éva Gauthier pour l'annivers...


“Ravel originally wrote Ma mère l’oye as a piano duet for the Godebski children, Mimi and Jean, ages 6 and 7. Ravel dedicated this work for four hands to the children (just as he had dedicated an earlier work, Sonatine to their parents). Jeanne Leleu and Geneviève Durony premiered the work.”

“The Green Serpent (a green dragon, known as


Dragon Green


Serpentin Vert in French), is a French fairy tale written by Marie Catherine d’Aulnoy, popular in its day and representative of European folklore, that was published in her book New Tales, or Fairies in Fashion (Contes Nouveaux ou Les Fées à la Mode), in 1698. The serpent is representative of a European dragon. His description is: “he has green wings, a many-coloured body, ivory jaws, fiery eyes, and long, bristling hair.”

The Green Dragon is really a handsome king placed under a spell for seven years by Magotine a wicked fairy. In many ways the tale is based on the story of Eros and Psyche, to which the narration pays conscious homage when referring to the “discovery” of the Green Dragon.”


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Flashmob – Bolero de Ravel na Pinacoteca de São Paulo, Brasil, Conservatoire de Paris, GURI & EMESP

Project of Marine Gandon, Ghislain Roffat & Pierre-Olivier Schmitt

During three weeks, between August and September of 2013, musicians of the Conservatoire de Paris (CNSMDP) were in Sao Paulo for pedagogical activities with teachers and students of Tom Jobim EMESP and Guri. The exchange is the result of a partnership between the Santa Marcelina Cultura and the prestigious french Institution. One of the results of the project was the execution of Ravel’s Bolero in the shape of a flashmob, at the Pinacoteca do Estado, on 14th September.

Durante três semanas, entre agosto e setembro de 2013, músicos do Conservatório de Paris estiveram em São Paulo para atividades pedagógicas com professores e alunos da EMESP Tom Jobim e do Guri. O intercâmbio é fruto de parceria entre a Santa Marcelina Cultura e a prestigiada instituição francesa. Como um dos resultados deste intercâmbio, surgiu o flashmob Bolero de Ravel na Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo.


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Maurice Ravel – Introduction & Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet & String Quartet

Introduction & Allegro for harp, flute, clarinet & string quartet (1905)

Stuttgart Chamber Music Ensemble

The Introduction and Allegro (1905) is one of the few pieces by Ravel that has remained more or less in the shadows — save in the minds of harpists — throughout the last century. While it is certainly not among the composer’s most striking works, it is nevertheless a pleasant enough showpiece that looks forward to the raw sensuality of Daphnis et Chloé while hearkening back with great affection to the music of Chabrier and, especially, Franck. The full title of the work is Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Accompanied by a Quartet of Strings, Flute, and Clarinet. Although it is often conveniently designated a septet, it is really a kind of miniature (10-minute) harp concerto, complete with virtuoso writing and an extended central cadenza for the instrument. Chamber performances of the work, in fact, are few and far between; it is far more frequently heard in the orchestra hall with a full complement of strings. The general simplicity of form and harmony have led some to conclude that the Introduction and Allegro might have originally been composed as a test piece for the Paris Conservatoire; certainly it did not stand out sufficiently in Ravel’s own memory for him to include it in his list of works. 

The brief Très lent introduction presents two themes, the first for the woodwinds in leaping parallel thirds, the second an inverted-arch-shaped gesture sung by the strings in octaves. Presently a shimmering texture of arpeggios and woodwind double-tonguing takes over, inviting the cello to explore another melody before the harp rejoins the lush musical fabric. 

Twenty-six bars into the piece the Allegro commences. Now, as the harp makes an extended solo exploration of the melody presented earlier by the strings, a sonata form begins to take shape. A second, hemiola-ridden theme arrives in the woodwinds, accompanied pizzicato by the strings. The development of this material takes place in the usual fragmentary manner, building to an excited fff climax that breaks away abruptly as the harp assumes center stage with a cadenza. The recapitulation is quite straightforward, and the work ends without extensive fireworks or bombast of any kind. The Introduction and Allegro was first performed in late February 1907. [allmusic.com]

Art by Jean-Léon Gérôme


Ravel: Miroirs III. Une Barque sur L’Ocean (André Laplante)

Definitely the best version of this piece I’ve ever heard. Canadian pianist André Laplante is an amazing artist, and his Ravel is phenomenal.

Modest Mussorgsky / Maurice Ravel – Pictures at an Exhibition

Pictures at an Exhibition (Russian: Картинки с выставки — Воспоминание о Викторе Гартмане, Kartinki s vystavki — Vospominaniye o Viktore Gartmane, “Pictures from an Exhibition — A Remembrance of Viktor Hartmann“) is a suite composed for piano by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky in 1874.

The suite is Mussorgsky’s most famous piano composition, and has become a showpiece for virtuoso pianists. It has become further known through various orchestrations and arrangements produced by other musicians and composers, with Ravel‘s arrangement being the most recorded and performed.

It was probably in 1870 that Mussorgsky met artist and architect Viktor Hartmann. Both men were devoted to the cause of an intrinsically Russian art and quickly became friends. 
Hartmann died from an aneurysm in 1873. The sudden loss of the artist, aged only 39, shook Mussorgsky along with others in Russia’s art world. Stasov helped organize an exhibition of over 400 Hartmann works in the Academy of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg, Russia in February and March 1874. Mussorgsky lent works from his personal collection to the exhibit and viewed the show in person. Fired by the experience, he composed Pictures at an Exhibition in six weeks.

Mussorgsky based his musical material on drawings and watercolours by Hartmann produced mostly during the artist’s travels abroad. Locales include Poland, France and Italy; the final movement depicts an architectural design for the capital city of Ukraine.


0:00   I. Promenade 
1:41    II. Gnomus 
4:15    III. Promenade 
5:14    IV. Il vecchio castello 
9:37    V. Promenade 
10:11   VI. Tuileries 
11:14   VII. Bydło 
14:13   VIII. Promenade 
14:57   IX. Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks 
16:16   X. “Samuel” Goldenberg und “Schmuÿle” 
18:17    XI. Limoges, le marché 
19:46   XII. Catacombæ (Sepulcrum romanum) and “Cum mortuis in   lingua mortua” 
23:29   XIII. The Hut on Fowl’s Legs (Baba-Yagá) 
27:06   XIV. The Great Gate of Kiev 

Conductor: Jean-Claude Casadeus
Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Picture: Portrait of Modest Mussorgsky – Ilya Repin.


Ravel: La Valse with Bernstein · Orchestre National de France