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Ravel

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 Jon Stewart 08 Jan 2022

From what I've heard, I find Ravel's music magical, fascinating, funny, moving and just plain great. I don't know the repertoire at all, but I love the string quartet, some concerto or other I heard once, and La Valse - especially with the Smalin treatment:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh16-BUsf6s&ab_channel=smalin

Can anyone recommend the essential masterworks to get to know? I like solo piano and chamber music particularly, but I know he's a master of instrumentation and I'm definitely interested in orchestral works. If he ever wrote an opera, I'm not interested in that I'm afraid

The story of the Balero is fascinating too:

https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/articles/unraveling-bolero

Cheers!

 felt 08 Jan 2022
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Daphnis and Chloe is the beginning and end of Ravel as far as I'm concerned. Lush, in the older sense; you can simply wallow in it. The first few bars are like the dawn of creation.

youtube.com/watch?v=IlENd0p6aR4&

 felt 08 Jan 2022
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I actually haven't listened to it for years, decades, so I've just played the link I posted. After listening to the first ten minutes, a couple of things occur to me. First, you can hear all sorts in there, from Wagner (inevitably), through Borodin and Debussy to Stravinsky. Second, this score has been hugely mined by film composers, all the way from the early black and white movies to some of the stuff I hear on the films my kids watch, like Rio. This is kinda nice but also kinda a shame; can't work out which I feel the more. It would be great to hear it with ears that hadn't heard any film music, just like it would be interesting to enter a Gainsborough or Breughel landscape and, like them, not hear or have ever heard any petrol-driven machines in the background.

In reply to Jon Stewart:

One of the remarkable things about Ravel is that he simply didn't write anything less than first rate-ever. It's all good-even Beethoven had his off days . But even having said that a few pieces are truly outstanding, in no particular order-For orchestra-Ma mere LOye, Alborada Del Gracioso, Le Tombeau de Couperin, La Valse. For Orchestra and soloist-Tzigane, Concerto for left hand piano (written for Wittgensteins concert pianist brother Paul, who lost and hand during WW1). For solo piano-Gaspard De La Nuit. These are my personal favourites but as I say, you cannot go wrong with Ravel.

In reply to Jon Stewart:

His piano concerto in G major is worth a listen, the adagio is stunning.

 bpmclimb 08 Jan 2022
In reply to Jon Stewart:

>  I like solo piano and chamber music particularly, but I know he's a master of instrumentation and I'm definitely interested in orchestral works.

Do you know Ravel's Introduction and Allegro? Right up your street, by the sound of it! It's written for a septet of harp, flute, clarinet and string quartet.

 Jon Stewart 08 Jan 2022
In reply to felt:

> Daphnis and Chloe is the beginning and end of Ravel as far as I'm concerned. Lush, in the older sense; you can simply wallow in it. The first few bars are like the dawn of creation.

Yeah! That's the stuff.

Ravel has the rare quality that while it's complex and harmonically sophisticated, I can get totally absorbed on a first listen.

 Jon Stewart 08 Jan 2022
In reply to bpmclimb:

> Do you know Ravel's Introduction and Allegro? Right up your street, by the sound of it! It's written for a septet of harp, flute, clarinet and string quartet.

Great performance, beautifully captured here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv5vXFaKkIg&ab_channel=OsloPhilharmonic

Sometimes you have to remind yourself how amazing it is to have instant access to the entire world of culture. And yet, we still find ourselves doomscrolling or just watching drivel.

 Tom Valentine 08 Jan 2022
In reply to Jon Stewart:

But , like it or not, most people in the world will have been introduced to the works of Ravel by watching a couple of ice skaters.....

In reply to Jon Stewart:

I was listening to this the last time I spoke to my Dad, on the phone in 1993

https://www.chandos.net/products/catalogue/CHAN%208905

I may be biased, but I think it is wonderful. I lost my Dad when we were both young, but at least I have that memory and that of our last last evening together drinking pink champagne at Zürich Opera House having listened I think to Radu Lupu.

 Hat Dude 08 Jan 2022
In reply to Tom Valentine:

> But , like it or not, most people in the world will have been introduced to the works of Ravel by watching a couple of ice skaters.....

And that he used to have a chain of classy shoe shops in the 70s & 80s

In reply to Tom Valentine:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.classicfm.com/composers/ravel/double-bassist-writes-lyrics-for-bolero/

As a youth, in the horn sections I played in, we often split the parts so 1st and 2nd play 2 bars and then 3rd and 4th played the next two bars. Relieved the boredom and made it more entertaining. We often got confused/lost which also added to the entertainment. 🤣

Post edited at 22:32
In reply to Nicholas Livesey:

> His piano concerto in G major is worth a listen, the adagio is stunning.

Agree. It (the adagio) has the most amazing melodic line which just seems to go and on, almost without end. Recommend you listen lying on the floor with your feet up on the sofa and arms out palm up at 45 deg to your torso.

other gems

Violin sonata (contains jazz blues themes)

Piano trio - one of the very best

Tzigane

 Jon Stewart 08 Jan 2022
In reply to wert:

> As a youth, in the horn sections I played in, we often split the parts so 1st and 2nd play 2 bars and then 3rd and 4th played the next two bars. Relieved the boredom and made it more entertaining. We often got confused/lost which also added to the entertainment. 🤣

Haha! I really recommend the podcast on the OP if you haven't heard it before, it will resonate I think.

In reply to mbh:

And if you like this (I am listening to the third part of Ma Mère and it is wonderful, as 'full of gaps' as Satie but more besides), try Gregory Allens's complete piano works of Rodrigo. A revelation if, as I did, all you know of his is the Concerto d'Aranjuez. 

 Jon Stewart 11 Jan 2022
In reply to all:

Thanks for all the input. Plenty to chew on, exactly what I was after.

I can see a psychedelic journey, accompanied by Ravel, being a fun/life-changing rainy day activity.

Nothing to do with Ravel, but I stumbled upon this recording, and I honestly think it might be the best thing I've ever heard. How on earth do they play it so well?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SigcBL4X8wQ&ab_channel=TheClassicalDude

 Nic 11 Jan 2022
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Ah, thanks for this. Haven't listened to Ravel for a few years. Definitely up there with Debussy for out there "impressionistic" sound "washes". Currently on some of the Youtube links posted above.

 bpmclimb 20:40 Fri
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Nothing to do with Ravel, but I stumbled upon this recording, and I honestly think it might be the best thing I've ever heard. How on earth do they play it so well?

Thanks for that! Great interpretation of the G major - perfect intonation and lovely sense of space.


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