Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
01Fairy Tales2006031320060320Donald Macleod visits Le Belv退dère, 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.

"Donald Macleod visits Le Belv退dère, 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 why he fell in love with this quirky little house, once described as being shaped like a wedge of Camembert cheese."

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).

"

02Foreign Culture2006031420060321
02L'affaire Ravel20170214
03Calm Before The Storm20170215
03Nature2006031520060322
04Excursions Into The Past2006031620060323
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."

05Machinery Of Ravel's Mind2006031720060324
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

Jos van Immerseel, conductor.

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

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