Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
200601Fairy 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."

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."

200601Mother: Spain And Visions Of Childhood2006032020090720Donald 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-退tude en forme de habanera/ Chanson populaires no 1: Chanson espagnole

"

Vocalise-退tude en forme de habanera/ Chanson populaires no 1: Chanson espagnole"

"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.

""

200602Father: 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

"Donald Macleod surveys the music Ravel wrote in connection with the people around him.

Gaspard de la nuit"

200602Foreign Culture2006031420060321There'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 Sh退hèrazade 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 Mad退casses, neither the author of the prose texts Evariste Parny or Ravel ever visited the island.

Cats Duet (L'Enfant et les sortilèges)

Jane Berbi退 (soprano)

Camille Maurane (baritone)

National Orchestra of RTF

Lorin Maazel (conductor)

Alborada del gracioso (Miroirs)

Vlado Perlemuter (piano)

Asie (Sh退hèrazade)

Maria Ewing (soprano)

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Simon Rattle (conductor)

Overture to Sh退hèrazade

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

Andr退 Previn (conductor)

Jessye Norman (soprano)

Michel Debost (flute)

Renaud Fonatanarosa (cello).

"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.

Renaud Fonatanarosa (cello)."

200603Nature2006031520060322Close 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 Rog退 (piano)

Oiseaux Tristes (Miroirs)

Daphnis and Chlöe (3rd part)

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Simon Rattle (conductor)

"Close by to Ravel's house in Montfort l'Amaury is the Rambouillet forest.

Simon Rattle (conductor)"

200603Poets2006032120090722Donald Macleod explores the importance for Ravel of the poets he read, and those he knew, in fin-de-siecle Montmartre.

Sainte & Sur l'herbe

Sainte and Sur l'herbe

"

Sainte & Sur l'herbe"

"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"

""

200604Excursions Into The Past2006031620060323Rococo 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 退pigrammes)

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)

B退atrice Uria-Monzon (mezzo-soprano)

Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse

Michel Plasson (conductor)

Le Tombeau de Couperin

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Seiji Ozawa (conductor).

"Rococo and Baroque are just a couple of the descriptions that visitors applied to Ravel's house at Montfort l'Amaury.

Seiji Ozawa (conductor)."

200604Patrons And Slaves2006032320090723Donald Macleod traces Ravel's sometimes troubled relationships with those who commissioned him.

Aoua! [Chansons Madecasses]

"

Aoua! [Chansons Madecasses]"

""

200605 LASTComposers2006032320090724

""

Donald Macleod looks at Ravel in the context of his contemporaries, from those who influenced him to those who looked to him for inspiration.

S退r退nade grotesque

"

S退r退nade grotesque"

"Donald Macleod looks at Ravel in the context of his contemporaries, from those who influenced him to those who looked to him for inspiration.

200605 LASTMachinery Of Ravel's Mind2006031720060324Ravel 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 Berbi退 (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.

Philadelphia Orchestra

Riccardo Muti (conductor)

Left Hand Piano Concerto

Krystian Zimerman (piano)

London Symphony Orchestra

Pierre Boulez (conductor)

Trois poèmes de Stephane Mallarm退

Felicity Lott (soprano)

Chamber Ensemble of Paris

Michel Plasson (conductor).

"Ravel was a perfectionist who aimed for the highest technical achievement.

Michel Plasson (conductor)."

201701Ravel 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).

"

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.

Simon Rattle, conductor

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

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.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201702L'affaire Ravel20170214Focusing 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.

"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.

"

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201703Calm Before The Storm20170215Donald 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.

"Donald Macleod focuses on Ravel's happy years prior to 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.

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.

"

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201704Ravel 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."

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.

"

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201705 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."

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.

"

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

202101Motherland20210322Donald Macleod explores Ravel's powerful bond with the Basque Country, his spiritual home.

Maurice Ravel is one of France's most enigmatic, original and beloved composers. While less prolific than some of his contemporaries, Ravel was a master of detail - his works are elegant and exquisitely crafted, and precision was a guiding force in both his creativity and personality. He is often linked with impressionism for his painterly approach to orchestration and vivid sound worlds of his piano writing, but his distinctive voice bears influences from the baroque, to the exotic, to jazz. Over the course of this week, Donald Macleod drops five pins on the map of Ravel's life story, discovering the places that were important to him and what they reveal about his character.

Today, the place Ravel called “my country” – the Basque region in Southwest France, which had a strong sentimental pull over him. Although he only lived there for the first few weeks of his life, he returned time and time again to his coastal motherland, where a key part of his personal and creative identity was formed. We'll step into Ravel's holiday snaps, meet the most important woman in his life, and hear how Basque culture coloured some of his best-loved works.

Habanera
London Symphony Orchestra
Francois-Xavier Roth, conductor

Pavane pour une infante defunte
Louis Lortie, piano

Alborada del Gracioso (Miroirs)
Louis Lortie, piano

Piano Trio
Florestan Trio

Don Quichotte a Dulcinée
Jose van Dam, baritone
Orchestre de l'Opéra National de Lyon
Kent Nagano, conductor

Produced in Cardiff by Amelia Parker

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

202102Dandy20210323Donald Macleod looks at Ravel's relationship with Paris, where image means everything.

Maurice Ravel is one of France's most enigmatic, original and beloved composers. While less prolific than some of his contemporaries, Ravel was a master of detail - his works are elegant and exquisitely crafted, and precision was a guiding force in both his creativity and personality. He is often linked with impressionism for his painterly approach to orchestration and vivid sound worlds of his piano writing, but his distinctive voice bears influences from the baroque, to the exotic, to jazz. Over the course of this week, Donald Macleod drops five pins on the map of Ravel's life story, discovering the places that were important to him and what they reveal about his character.

Today, Ravel's youthful escapades and many addresses in Paris, a city which he loved but didn't always love him back. We'll join the aspiring composer as he tries to make his mark on the exclusive salon circuit, spends too many hours in front of the mirror, forms a secret society, and becomes the centre of a musical scandal.

D'Anne jouant de l'espinette
Anne Sofie von Otter, soprano
Bengt Forsberg, piano

Jeux d'eau
Martha Argerich, piano

String Quartet (1st and 2nd movements)
Quatuor Ebène

Miroirs (III. Une barque sur l‘océan; V. Vallée des cloches)
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

Introduction and Allegro for harp, flute, clarinet and string quartet
Skaila Kanga, harp
Philippa Davies, flute
Michael Collins, clarinet
Nash Ensemble

Produced in Cardiff by Amelia Parker

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

202103Aftershock20210324Donald Macleod reveals how the experience of war turned Ravel's orderly life upside down

Maurice Ravel is one of France's most enigmatic, original and beloved composers. While less prolific than some of his contemporaries, Ravel was a master of detail - his works are elegant and exquisitely crafted, and precision was a guiding force in both his creativity and personality. He is often linked with impressionism for his painterly approach to orchestration and vivid sound worlds of his piano writing, but his distinctive voice bears influences from the baroque, to the exotic, to jazz. Over the course of this week, Donald Macleod drops five pins on the map of Ravel's life story, discovering the places that were important to him and what they reveal about his character.

Today – not a place, but rather the lack of one – Donald charts Ravel's years of homelessness and disorientation during the First World War and its aftermath. His harrowing experiences as a truck driver in Verdun left an indelible mark on him, physically and psychologically. But the biggest blow of his life was yet to come, away from the battlefield - and it would take four years to put down new roots and regain his musical voice.

Valses nobles et sentimentales, or Adélaïde (I. Modéré – tres franc)
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Seiji Ozawa, conductor

Trois beaux oiseaux
Monteverdi Choir
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Deux mélodies hébraïques (I. Kaddisch)
Mischa Maisky, cello
Daria Hovora, piano

Le Tombeau de Couperin
Steven Osborne, piano

La Valse
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Yannick Nezet-Séguin, conductor

Produced in Cardiff by Amelia Parker

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

202104Night Owl20210325Donald Macleod follows Ravel to America for the trip of a lifetime.

Maurice Ravel is one of France's most enigmatic, original and beloved composers. While less prolific than some of his contemporaries, Ravel was a master of detail - his works are elegant and exquisitely crafted, and precision was a guiding force in both his creativity and personality. He is often linked with impressionism for his painterly approach to orchestration and vivid sound worlds of his piano writing, but his distinctive voice bears influences from the baroque, to the exotic, to jazz. Over the course of this week, Donald Macleod drops five pins on the map of Ravel's life story, discovering the places that were important to him and what they reveal about his character.

In today's programme, we set sail for America, on Ravel's greatest journey. We'll hear about his concert-hall capers on a tour spanning 17 cities and 25 towns, and the ridiculous extent of his over-packing. This itinerary wasn't enough to tire out Ravel, who would only go to bed “when every other possibility had been exhausted”, and it seems fitting that his twilight years were some of the most adventurous of his life. As a jazz lover, Ravel was in his element when Gershwin took him club hopping in Harlem, and the many colourful encounters he had in the States would have a lasting influence on his music.

Daphnis et Chloé: Part III (Lever du jour)
Orchestre et Choeur de l'Opéra National de Paris,
Philippe Jordan, conductor

Sonatine (II. Mouvement de minuet)
Steven Osborne, piano

Violin Sonata in G major
Janine Jansen, violin
Itamar Golan, piano

Piano Concerto in G major
Krystian Zimerman, piano
Cleveland Orchestra
Pierre Boulez, conductor

Produced in Cardiff by Amelia Parker

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

202105 LASTRefuge20210326Donald Macleod steps into Ravel's beloved home and the quirky, inner world he created there.

Maurice Ravel is one of France's most enigmatic, original and beloved composers. While less prolific than some of his contemporaries, Ravel was a master of detail - his works are elegant and exquisitely crafted, and precision was a guiding force in both his creativity and personality. He is often linked with impressionism for his painterly approach to orchestration and vivid sound worlds of his piano writing, but his distinctive voice bears influences from the baroque, to the exotic, to jazz. Over the course of this week, Donald Macleod drops five pins on the map of Ravel's life story, discovering the places that were important to him and what they reveal about his character.

Today, Donald takes us through the keyhole of Ravel's eccentric house, Le Belvedere. After the trauma of war and grief, settling here heralded a period of refuge and recovery as he created a very personal nest where he could be himself. This bizarre, impractical dwelling, was described as a “toy surprise”, and through the house Ravel created an outward version of his inner, often child-like world. As the backdrop for some of his happiest memories, we'll meet Ravel the lively host, cat-parent, and unsung interiors guru.

Berceuse sur le nom de Gabriel Fauré
James Ehnes, violin
Wendy Chen, piano

Ma Mere L'Oye Suite
Rotterdam Philharmonic
Yannick Nezet-Seguin, conductor

Tzigane
Itzhak Perlman, vioin
Myor Rosen, harp
New York Philharmonic
Zubin Mehta, conductor

L'enfant et les sortilèges: Duo miaulé (Cat Duet)
David Wilson-Johnson, baritone
Jacqueline Miura, soprano
London Symphony Orchestra
Andre Previn, conductor

Bolero
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Pierre Boulez, conductor

Produced in Cardiff by Amelia Parker

Donald Macleod steps into Ravel's beloved home and the inner world he created there.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.