Donald focuses on Ravel's masterpieces of the 1920s and early 30s: a prolific period cut cruelly short by degenerative brain disease.
Donald Macleod explores Ravel's masterpieces of the 1920s and early 30s - a prolific period cut cruelly short by degenerative brain disease.
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.
In the 1920s Ravel seemed to be at the very height of his powers, cementing his place as France's leading composer after the deaths of Debussy and Fauré. Yet his place at the top of the musical firmament was to be cut tragically short, as a neurological disorder slowly and cruelly took away his mental and physical capabilities - leaving Ravel with music in his head that he couldn't physically write. Donald Macleod explores Ravel's last works, ending with a radical new performance of Boléro by the Belgian orchestra Anima Eterna.
Fumio Hayazaka: Rashomon (extract)
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Seji Ozawa, conductor
Don Quichotte à Dulcinée
Gerald Finlay, baritone
Julius Drake, piano
Jos van Immerseel, conductor.
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