Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

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Episodes

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01Fairy Tales * *2006031320060320Donald Macleod visits Le Belvédère, Ravel's aptly named house in the French town of Montfort l'Amaury, which has a spectacular view of the Rambouillet forest.|That's the reason he fell in love with this quirky little house, once described as being shaped like a wedge of Camembert cheese.|Ravelian style abounds on every available shelf or table top.|Even the piano is covered with some of the hundreds of miniature and quirky objects Ravel collected.|Donald Macleod looks at Ravel's fascination with childhood and fairytales.|Toi, le coeur de la Rose (l'Enfant et les sortilèges)|Françoise Ogeas (mezzo soprano)|RTF National Orchestra|Lorin Maazel (conductor)|Songs for Unaccompanied Mixed Chorus|Groupe Vocal de France|John Alldis (conductor)|Sonata for Violin and Cello (Allegro)|Kennedy (violin)|Lyn Harrell (cello)|Ma Mère l'Oye|Berlin Philharmonic|Pierre Boulez (conductor)|Gaspard de la Nuit (Scarbo)|Angela Hewitt (piano)|That's the reason why he fell in love with this quirky little house, once described as being shaped like a wedge of Camembert cheese.|
01Mother: Spain And Visions Of Childhood20090720|Donald Macleod surveys the music Ravel wrote in connection with the people around him, beginning with pieces associated with the composer's mother and the Basque heritage which was so important to him.|Vocalise-étude en forme de habanera/ Chanson populaires no 1: Chanson espagnole
02Father: Industry And Craftsmanship2006032020090721Donald Macleod surveys the music Ravel wrote in connection with the people around him.|Ravel's fascination with things mechanical and industrial was formed in the workshop of his father, an engineer and inventor.|Sites Auriculaires: Entre cloches|Stephen Coombs and Christopher Scott (pianos)|GAMUT cd 517|CD1 T6|L'Heure Espagnole (extract)|Jane Berbie (Concepcion)/ Jean Giraudeau (Torquemada)/ Gabriel Bacquier (Ramiro)/ Orchestre National de la R.T.F/ Lorin Maazel (cond)|DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 423719 2|CD1 T3|Gaspard de la nuit
02Foreign Culture *20060314There's more than one edition of the classic Arabian tale One Thousand and One Nights on the bookshelves of Ravel's home in Montfort l'Amaury.|Ravel used the heroine Shéhèrazade as the central character in his very first opera project, and returned to the subject for some orchestral songs five years later.|Ravel was able to incorporate these exotic flavours into his original compositions without locating them in any precise geographical way, or in many cases drawing on any direct personal experience.|He didn't visit Spain, for example, until 15 years after he wrote most of his Spanish-infused music, and when he came to write the Chansons Madécasses, neither the author of the prose texts Evariste Parny or Ravel ever visited the island.|Cats Duet (L'Enfant et les sortilèges)|Jane Berbié (soprano)|Camille Maurane (baritone)|National Orchestra of RTF|Lorin Maazel (conductor)|Alborada del gracioso (Miroirs)|Vlado Perlemuter (piano)|Asie (Shéhèrazade)|Maria Ewing (soprano)|City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra|Simon Rattle (conductor)|Overture to Shéhèrazade|New York Philharmonic|Pierre Boulez (conductor)|How's Your Mug excerpt (L'Enfant et les sortilèges)|Jacqueline Miura (mezzo-contralto)|Mark Tucker (tenor)|London Symphony Orchestra|André Previn (conductor)|Chansons Madécasses|Jessye Norman (soprano)|Michel Debost (flute)|Renaud Fonatanarosa (cello).
03Nature *2006031520060322Close by to Ravel's house in Montfort l'Amaury is the Rambouillet forest.|Ravel, who was a life-long insomniac, regularly went for long walks there, sometimes in the middle of the night, listening to all the woodland creatures and noises as he went.|According to his friends, Ravel possessed an empathetic appreciation for animals and nature.|Donald Macleod surveys some musical testaments to this opinion.|Insects and Frogs' Music (l'Enfant et les sortilèges)|National Orchestra of RTF|Lorin Maazel (conductor)|Le paon, Le grillon, Le Martin-Pêcheur (Histoires naturelles)|Jane Bathori (soprano/piano)|Sonata for Violin and Piano|Chantal Juillet (violin)|Pascal Rogé (piano)|Oiseaux Tristes (Miroirs)|Daphnis and Chlöe (3rd part)|City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra|Simon Rattle (conductor)
03Poets *2006032120090722|Donald Macleod explores the importance for Ravel of the poets he read, and those he knew, in fin-de-siecle Montmartre.|Sainte & Sur l'herbe
04Excursions Into The Past *20060316Rococo and Baroque are just a couple of the descriptions that visitors applied to Ravel's house at Montfort l'Amaury.|Showing them his impressive paintings, he would then delight in watching their surprise as he confessed they were all fakes.|This brand of pastiche and fascination with the past finds its way into Ravel's music.|He used both classical forms and tales, but applied his own imagination and invention to produce pieces that are unmistakably his own.|D'Anne jouant de l'espinette (Deux épigrammes)|Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)|Hartmut Höll (piano)|Piano Trio (Finale)|Joshua Bell (violin)|Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano)|Stephen Isserlis (cello)|Excerpt from Alcyone|Mireille Delunsch (soprano)|Béatrice Uria-Monzon (mezzo-soprano)|Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse|Michel Plasson (conductor)|Le Tombeau de Couperin|Boston Symphony Orchestra|Seiji Ozawa (conductor).
04Patrons And Slaves *2006032820090723|Donald Macleod traces Ravel's sometimes troubled relationships with those who commissioned him.|Aoua! [Chansons Madecasses]
05 LASTComposers *2006032320090724|Donald Macleod looks at Ravel in the context of his contemporaries, from those who influenced him to those who looked to him for inspiration.|Sérénade grotesque
05 LASTMachinery Of Ravel's Mind *20060317Ravel was a perfectionist who aimed for the highest technical achievement.|His passion for all things mechanical was realised in his house at Montfort l'Amaury where he collected hundreds of miniature working models and toys.|Those he didn't buy for himself were brought as presents by the many friends who visited him there.|His father was an engineer and inventor, and it was for him that Ravel wrote the first of his two operas, l'Heure espagnole, in which all the characters are obsessed by time.|By the time Ravel had completed his last orchestral works, the two piano concertos, his time was running out.|He was troubled by constant headaches, his insomnia worsened and he developed problems with his co-ordination.|The final years of his life were spent at his much loved home in Montfort l'Amaury.|Introduction and Scenes 1 and 2 (l'Heure Espagnole)|Jane Berbié (soprano)|Jean Giraudeau (tenor)|Gabriel Bacquier (bass-baritone)|National Orchestra of RTF|Lorin Maazel (conductor)|Il vecchio castello, Baba-Yaga, The Great Gates of Kiev (Pictures at an Exhibition)|Mussorgsky, orch.|Ravel|Philadelphia Orchestra|Riccardo Muti (conductor)|Left Hand Piano Concerto|Krystian Zimerman (piano)|London Symphony Orchestra|Pierre Boulez (conductor)|Trois poèmes de Stephane Mallarmé|Felicity Lott (soprano)|Chamber Ensemble of Paris|Michel Plasson (conductor).