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Calm Before the Storm

Donald Macleod focuses on Ravel's happy years prior to the First World War. His idyll was to be shattered by the death of his father and the outbreak of war. Including Piano Trio.

Donald Macleod explores Ravel's happy years prior to the First World War. His idyll was to be shattered by the death of his father and the outbreak of war.

Ravel is a musical genius ... with an image problem. Thanks to the efforts of Torvill and Dean (not to mention Bo Derek and Dudley Moore), his is a place in popular culture unmatched by any composer of the 20th century. And all for a piece, Boléro, that he joked to friends "had no music in it" ... Compared to his fellow musical "impressionist" Debussy, Ravel's music is sometimes unfairly characterised as rather shallow - all brilliant artifice and sumptuous detail, but no heart. That reputation's not helped by the man himself. Famously private, Ravel projected the image of a rarefied dandy, whilst keeping his own private emotional world a tightly-kept secret. This week, Donald Macleod seeks to break through the shell of this musical enigma to discover the vast depths beneath.

As the fallout from the scandalous "Ravel Affair" faded, Ravel settled into a comfortable life dividing his time between professional life in Paris and summers in his Basque homeland, where he dreamed of composing a Basque musical fantasy - sadly never realised. Donald Macleod explores Ravel's often neglected support for musical modernism, showcasing his daring Three Poems of Stéphane Mallarmé - a work with the double misfortune of being composed in the same year as Stravinsky's iconic "Rite of Spring", and a work with the exact same title by his rival Claude Debussy.

Jeff Beck / Jimmy Page: Beck's Boléro

Scarbo (Gaspard de la Nuit), arr. Marius Constant
Orchestra Nationale de Lyon
Leonard Slatkin

Trois Poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé
Janet Baker, mezzo
Melos Ensemble

Piano Trio
Trio Wanderer.

1 hour

Music Played

  • Jeff Beck & Jimmy Page

    Beck's Bolero

    • EMI CDGOLD1060.
    • EMI.
    • 2.
  • Maurice Ravel

    Gaspard de la Nuit - Scarbo

    Orchestra: Orchestre National de Lyon. Conductor: Leonard Slatkin.
    • NAXOS : 8.572888.
    • NAXOS.
    • 10.
  • Maurice Ravel

    3 Poemes De Stephane Mallarme - A rose in the darkness

    Performer: Melos Ensemble. Singer: Janet Baker. Conductor: Bernard Keeffe.
    • DECCA 4259482.
    • DECCA.
    • 1.
  • Maurice Ravel

    Piano Trio in A Minor

    Ensemble: Trio Wanderer.
    • CHANT DU MONDE LDC2781114.
    • CHANT DU MONDE.
    • 1.

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