Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
01Fairy Tales2006031320060320

Donald 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.

01Fairy Tales * *2006031320060320

Donald 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 Childhood

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

01Ravel The Enigma20170213

Donald Macleod on Ravel's happy childhood and musical development in late-1800s Paris.

Donald Macleod explores the enigmatic personality and richly vibrant soundworld of Maurice Ravel, composer of Boléro.

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.

We begin the week with Ravel's happy childhood and prodigious musical development in fin-de-siècle Paris of the late 1800s.

Boléro (extract)

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Simon Rattle, conductor

Piano Concerto in G (2nd movt. Adagio assai)

Yuja Wang, piano

Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich

Lionel Bringuier, conductor

Un Grand sommeil noir

Gerald Finley, baritone

Julius Drake, piano

Violin Sonata in A minor, Op posth

Alina Ibragimova, violin

Cedric Tiberghien, piano

Pavane pour une infant défunte

Khatia Buniatishvili (piano).

01Ravel The Enigma20170213

Donald Macleod on Ravel's happy childhood and musical development in late-1800s Paris.

Donald Macleod explores the enigmatic personality and richly vibrant soundworld of Maurice Ravel, composer of Boléro.

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.

We begin the week with Ravel's happy childhood and prodigious musical development in fin-de-siècle Paris of the late 1800s.

Boléro (extract)

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Simon Rattle, conductor

Piano Concerto in G (2nd movt. Adagio assai)

Yuja Wang, piano

Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich

Lionel Bringuier, conductor

Un Grand sommeil noir

Gerald Finley, baritone

Julius Drake, piano

Violin Sonata in A minor, Op posth

Alina Ibragimova, violin

Cedric Tiberghien, piano

Pavane pour une infant défunte

Khatia Buniatishvili (piano).

02Father: Industry And Craftsmanship

02Father: Industry And Craftsmanship2006032020090721

Donald 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 Culture2006031420060321

There'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).

02Foreign Culture *20060314

There'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).

02L'affaire Ravel20170214

Focusing on the notorious Ravel Affair of 1905 and Ravel's relationship with Debussy.

Donald Macleod explores the notorious "Ravel Affair" of 1905, when the composer was passed over for French music's biggest prize. Plus: Ravel's relationship with Debussy.

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 early years of the first decade of the 20th century, Ravel cultivated a reputation as French music's most talented - and fashionably-dressed - young composer, as he divided his time between the Paris Conservatoire and the boutiques of the Grands Boulevards. Yet his failure to win the Prix de Rome - the most prestigious prize in French music - scandalised France's musical establishment. Donald Macleod takes up the story, and explores the composer's relationship with his closest musical rival, Claude Debussy.

Lonlon (after Ravel's Bolero)

Angelique Kidjo, vocals

Jeux d'eaux

Bernard Chamayou, piano

String Quartet in F major

Dante Quartet

Introduction and Allegro

Melos Ensemble.

02L'affaire Ravel20170214

Focusing on the notorious Ravel Affair of 1905 and Ravel's relationship with Debussy.

Donald Macleod explores the notorious "Ravel Affair" of 1905, when the composer was passed over for French music's biggest prize. Plus: Ravel's relationship with Debussy.

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 early years of the first decade of the 20th century, Ravel cultivated a reputation as French music's most talented - and fashionably-dressed - young composer, as he divided his time between the Paris Conservatoire and the boutiques of the Grands Boulevards. Yet his failure to win the Prix de Rome - the most prestigious prize in French music - scandalised France's musical establishment. Donald Macleod takes up the story, and explores the composer's relationship with his closest musical rival, Claude Debussy.

Lonlon (after Ravel's Bolero)

Angelique Kidjo, vocals

Jeux d'eaux

Bernard Chamayou, piano

String Quartet in F major

Dante Quartet

Introduction and Allegro

Melos Ensemble.

03Calm Before The Storm20170215

Donald Macleod focuses on Ravel's happy years prior to the First World War.

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.

03Calm Before The Storm20170215

Donald Macleod focuses on Ravel's happy years prior to the First World War.

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.

03Nature2006031520060322

Close 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)

03Nature *2006031520060322

Close 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

03Poets *2006032120090722

Donald Macleod explores the importance for Ravel of the poets he read, and those he knew, in fin-de-siecle Montmartre.

Sainte and Sur l'herbe

04Excursions Into The Past2006031620060323

Rococo 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).

04Excursions Into The Past *20060316

Rococo 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

04Patrons And Slaves *2006032820090723

Donald Macleod traces Ravel's sometimes troubled relationships with those who commissioned him.

Aoua! [Chansons Madecasses]

04Ravel At War20170216

How Ravel - long deemed unfit for the army - was determined to serve his nation at war.

Donald Macleod explores how Ravel - just over five feet tall, and long deemed unfit for the army - came to bravely serve his nation during the First World 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.

At the outbreak of the First World War, Ravel was nearly 40 and physically tiny compared to his peers. Yet he was determined to serve his country. Repeatedly requesting enlistment after being rejected by the authorities, the composer was finally called up in 1915, and his bravery and doggedness in the face of horror was praised by his officers. Yet on returning, he famously rejected the Légion d'Honneur, France's highest accolade, claiming he didn't want the praise and limelight the honour would bestow.

Boléro (1984 arrangement for Torvill and Dean)

Trois beaux oiseaux du paradis (Trois Chansons)

Accentus

Laurence Equilbey, conductor

Fugue; Toccata (Le Tombeau de Couperin)

Bertrand Chamayou, piano

La Valse

Montreal Symphony Orchestra

Charles Dutoit

Tzigane (original version for violin and luthéal piano)

Daniel Hope, violin

Sebastian Knauer, luthéal piano

Trois Chansons madécasses

Nora Gubisch, mezzo

Magali Mosnier, flute

Jerôme Pernoo, cello

Alain Altinoglu, piano.

04Ravel At War20170216

How Ravel - long deemed unfit for the army - was determined to serve his nation at war.

Donald Macleod explores how Ravel - just over five feet tall, and long deemed unfit for the army - came to bravely serve his nation during the First World 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.

At the outbreak of the First World War, Ravel was nearly 40 and physically tiny compared to his peers. Yet he was determined to serve his country. Repeatedly requesting enlistment after being rejected by the authorities, the composer was finally called up in 1915, and his bravery and doggedness in the face of horror was praised by his officers. Yet on returning, he famously rejected the Légion d'Honneur, France's highest accolade, claiming he didn't want the praise and limelight the honour would bestow.

Boléro (1984 arrangement for Torvill and Dean)

Trois beaux oiseaux du paradis (Trois Chansons)

Accentus

Laurence Equilbey, conductor

Fugue; Toccata (Le Tombeau de Couperin)

Bertrand Chamayou, piano

La Valse

Montreal Symphony Orchestra

Charles Dutoit

Tzigane (original version for violin and luthéal piano)

Daniel Hope, violin

Sebastian Knauer, luthéal piano

Trois Chansons madécasses

Nora Gubisch, mezzo

Magali Mosnier, flute

Jerôme Pernoo, cello

Alain Altinoglu, piano.

05Composers

05Genius Cut Tragically Short20170217

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)

Menuet antique

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Seji Ozawa, conductor

Don Quichotte à Dulcinée

Gerald Finlay, baritone

Julius Drake, piano

Boléro

Anima Eterna

Jos van Immerseel, conductor.

Donald focuses on Ravel's masterpieces of the 1920s and early 30s.

05Machinery Of Ravel's Mind2006031720060324
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 LASTGenius Cut Tragically Short20170217

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)

Menuet antique

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Seji Ozawa, conductor

Don Quichotte à Dulcinée

Gerald Finlay, baritone

Julius Drake, piano

Boléro

Anima Eterna

Jos van Immerseel, conductor.

Donald focuses on Ravel's masterpieces of the 1920s and early 30s.

05 LASTMachinery Of Ravel's Mind *20060317

Ravel 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).

06Mother: Spain And Visions Of Childhood2006032020090720

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

07Father: Industry And Craftsmanship2006032120090721

Donald 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

08Poets2006032220090722

Donald Macleod explores the importance for Ravel of the poets he read, and those he knew, in fin-de-siecle Montmartre.

Sainte and Sur l'herbe

09Patrons And Slaves2006032320090723

Donald Macleod traces Ravel's sometimes troubled relationships with those who commissioned him.

Aoua! [Chansons Madecasses]

10 LASTComposers2006032420090724