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Thread: Maurice Ravel

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    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Maurice Ravel

    Besides riding a heavy Magma wave, I have been doing the same with Ravel. He has become a top 10 fav composer for me over the years, but on some days I have no qualms about placing him top 5, or even top 3. If all you have ever heard is Bolero (which I love BTW), then I would highly suggest exploring further because he is so much more than that piece. My admiration for Ravel started in grad school in 1996-1997 when I had to research Le Tombeau de Couperin, and compare/contrast the original piano versions (6 movements) with the orchestrated versions (4 movements). I went from largely being unfamiliar with his music to purchasing almost everything and digging in heavy.

    I will generate a list of must-hear pieces when I have more time, but I will post a few of my favorite movements from a few of his pieces. He is an absolute incredible genius, and his orchestration skills are better than I can convey in words here. On the highest level with Mahler, Stravinsky, etc there. Any fans here - I'd love to hear from you. If you don't know his music, PLEASE do some research and explore his output, I think you will be amazed.

    Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937, France)
    Last edited by chalkpie; 08-13-2018 at 08:41 PM.
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    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

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    Member StarThrower's Avatar
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    I think I have all of Ravel's music. I'm a big fan.

    Favorite pieces:

    Le tombeau de Couperin
    Miroirs
    Gaspard de la nuit
    String Quartet
    Ma Mere L'Oye

    I've only listened to the operas once. I don't remember them. Will have to revisit.

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    Frankie, this is the latest CD I've listened to. I think it's pretty great!


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    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Huge Ravel fan here. One of the greatest masters of orchestration, that's for sure, as proven by Daphnis & Chloë, not to mention Boléro. Possibly my all-time favorite piece of his is the Concerto for the Left Hand.

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    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    ^ Great disc Reidster! I have it too! My favorite version of the Concerto in G is Boulez/Zimerman on DG - actually the Left Hand Concerto is great too. And don't get me started on Miroirs! Bliss.

    Another one of my absolute favorite pieces by Ravel is the second movement of the Piano Concerto - incredibly moving! Also, I've been majorly obsessed with Gaspard de la Nuit this week. another one of his masterpieces, but honestly what isn't a masterpiece by him?

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    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    Has proven by Daphnis & Chloë, not to mention Boléro. Possibly my all-time favorite piece of his is the Concerto for the Left Hand.
    Yes and yes! Great to hear - I Love both pieces as well. I Just watched Daphnis yesterday on the Berliner Digital Concert Hall with Rattle conducting - they slayed it. I still love my first Daphnis recording with Berliner/Boulez on DG. Sometimes I just like to hear the Suite taken separately - the full ballet is a big investment in both time and attention span - you have to be mentally ready for it. It might be his crowning achievement ultimately though.
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    Member bill g's Avatar
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    Funny I just listened to Ravel last night. He has a lot of great music, one of my favorites is the absolutely beautiful 'Pavane for a Princess'. Included in the four pieces I listened to last night were Bolero and Daphne & Cloe.

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    Funny I just listened to Ravel last night. He has a lot of great music, one of my favorites is the absolutely beautiful 'Pavane for a Princess'. Included in the four pieces I listened to last night were Bolero and Daphnis et Chloe.

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    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bill g View Post
    Funny I just listened to Ravel last night. He has a lot of great music, one of my favorites is the absolutely beautiful 'Pavane for a Princess'. Included in the four pieces I listened to last night were Bolero and Daphne & Cloe.
    Absolutely. Beyond words beautiful - both versions.
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    Member bill g's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    Absolutely. Beyond words beautiful - both versions.
    Yes!!

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    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    PS - for the proggers out there that aren't familiar with Ravel, check out "Pictures at an Exhibition" (written by Mussorgsky on piano). His orchestration of that piece almost renders the original useless imo, and surely gave our good pals ELP inspiration and some food for thought. Did Emerson ever mention Ravel back in the day?
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    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    Possibly my all-time favorite piece of his is the Concerto for the Left Hand.
    A few points about this piece:

    1) How amazing is the part written for just the left hand?

    2) I love the range of the piano part since it favors the lower half of the keyboard

    3) How great is the very beginning of the piece with that nasty contrabassoon or whatever the fuck it is?

    4) I am normally not a huge fan of concertos, but I absolutely love both of the piano concertos since he incorporates the keyboard so well - its not just a wankfest yet rather beautifully balanced pieces that are as equally as much about the composition itself as the solo written material

    5) I like Ravel
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    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Big big fan !
    Same 'vein' as Debussy, but less 'architecture'.
    Debussy is the master, but Ravel is the more adventurous apprentice.

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    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    Big big fan !
    Same 'vein' as Debussy, but less 'architecture'.
    Debussy is the master, but Ravel is the more adventurous apprentice.
    Love 'em both - but I guess I prefer Ravel since he gets the nod more often. I have always felt he was the better, more refined composer, better attention to detail and greater orchestrator, but of course that is all up to interpretation and is very subjective. Debussy's Preludes Books I and II are one of my desert island solo piano works, as is Images. Also a huge fan of Nocturnes, of which Ravel arranged for deux pianos.

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    That G Major concerto has a strong Gershwin feel to it. I just listened to the Argerich recording from the Ravel box set. A lovely and serene middle movement, and that short Presto movement sounds like it would send the most seasoned virtuoso to the woodshed. Especially the bassoonist.

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    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StarThrower View Post
    That G Major concerto has a strong Gershwin feel to it. I just listened to the Argerich recording from the Ravel box set. A lovely and serene middle movement, and that short Presto movement sounds like it would send the most seasoned virtuoso to the woodshed. Especially the bassoonist.
    Yeah it does. I remember reading that Ravel turned down a request for composition lessons from Gershwin - Ravel wanted him to find his own voice instead of trying to sound like him (something to that effect). Its a wonderful piece, yes the second movement is just gorgeous. That opening piano theme - which he revisits later - perfection. My first recording way back when was De Laroccha/Slatkin...its a great recording but I stull prefer the Zimerman/Boulez.
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    Member StarThrower's Avatar
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    I'll check my library for that Zimerman CD. I have an old Sony CD of the Ravel and Gershwin concertos performed by Entremont.

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    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StarThrower View Post
    I'll check my library for that Zimerman CD. I have an old Sony CD of the Ravel and Gershwin concertos performed by Entremont.
    If it doesn't have it, there are used copies at Amazon for like $2.50 (plus shipping). Its my go-to for both concerti, and the Valses nobles et sentimentales is equally as good. A top 10 Ravel album in my collection maybe top 5.
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    Also, Reid don't miss Jeux d'eau from 1901, a 6-minute piano masterpiece very much in the Debussy wheelhouse.

    Another semi-obscure later work that I have been digging lately is Chansons madécasses (1925-26), which are three art songs. They are pretty out-there and one of most dissonant pieces I have ever heard by Ravel.
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  21. #21
    I take Debussy over Ravel, but not an easy choice. They were both giants, but Debussy was the great innovator who paved the way for all 20th century music, and Ravel acknowledged his debt to him.

    I would add to the works already mentioned Ravel's string quartet, which is also a field where he kicked somewhat Debussy's arse. Meaning that I prefer Ravel's quartet to Debussy's.

    And there's another stellar chamber piece that I don't remember the title ...let me check...it has to be Introduction and Allegro for harp, flute, clarinet and string quartet. A piece of immense beauty.

    And yes, his work for Pictures at an Exhibition cannot be overstated. Brillant!

  22. #22
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    Debussy is the master, but Ravel is the more adventurous apprentice.
    Tag team match: Pelléas & Mélisande vs. Daphnis & Chloë!

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    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post

    And there's another stellar chamber piece that I don't remember the title ...let me check...it has to be Introduction and Allegro for harp, flute, clarinet and string quartet. A piece of immense beauty.
    Lovely piece. Its sort of the sequel or lost cousin to Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, but the Debussy piece was written about 9 years earlier (1894!!) amazingly. SO French sounding, another Ravel gem. Great call man.
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    Member StarThrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    Also, Reid don't miss Jeux d'eau from 1901, a 6-minute piano masterpiece very much in the Debussy wheelhouse.

    Another semi-obscure later work that I have been digging lately is Chansons madécasses (1925-26), which are three art songs. They are pretty out-there and one of most dissonant pieces I have ever heard by Ravel.
    I have to take a close look at the Ravel box and see what's in there. I haven't really explored everything. Okay, I see those pieces. Will give them a listen.

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    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StarThrower View Post
    I have to take a close look at the Ravel box and see what's in there. I haven't really explored everything. Okay, I see those pieces. Will give them a listen.
    Are you talking about the Ravel Edition Box on Decca from 2012?
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