maurice ravel – miroirs

I can recommend Ravel’s piano works as suitable accompaniment when hurtling through the dark across unfamiliar country in a high-speed train.

Miroirs (“Reflections”) is a suite for solo piano written by French impressionist composer Maurice Ravel between 1904 and 1905, first performed by Ricardo Viñes in 1906.

Around 1900, Maurice Ravel joined a group of innovative young artists, poets, critics, and musicians referred to as “Les Apaches” or “hooligans”, a term coined by Ricardo Viñes to refer to his band of “artistic outcasts”.

To pay tribute to his fellow artists, Ravel began composing Miroirs in 1904 and finished it the following year. There are five movements, each dedicated to a member of Les Apaches:

1. “Noctuelles” (“Night Moths”) – Dedicated to Léon-Paul Fargue

2. “Oiseaux tristes” (“Sad Birds”) – Dedicated to Ricardo Viñes

3. “Une barque sur l’océan” (“A boat on the Ocean”) – Dedicated to Paul Sordes

4. “Alborada del gracioso” (“The Alborada Gracioso’s Aubade”) – Dedicated to Michel-Dimitri Calvocoressi

5. “La vallée des cloches” (“The Valley of Bells”) – Dedicated to Maurice Delage.

Pianist: Jean-Efflam Bavouzet

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ravel – shéhérazade, part II – la flûte enchantée

(Bożena Bujnicka – soprano, Paweł Sommer – piano)
A song cycle by Ravel, first performed in 1904. More information about the composition can be found HERE.

The shade is soft and my master sleeps
Wearing a conical hat of silk,
His long yellow nose in his white beard.
But me, I’m yet awake,
Listening to the melody of a flute outside
which pours forth, in turns, sadness and joy,
An air in turns languid or frivolous,
Which my darling love plays.
And when I approach the window,
It seems to me that each note flies
From the flute to my cheek
Like a mysterious kiss.

kay nielsen_arabian_nights

L’ombre est douce et mon maître dort
Coiffé d’un bonnet conique de soie
Et son long nez jaune en sa barbe blanche.
Mais moi, je suis éveillée encor
Et j’écoute au dehors
Une chanson de flûte où s’épanche
Tour à tour la tristesse ou la joie.
Un air tour à tour langoureux ou frivole
Que mon amoureux chéri joue,
Et quand je m’approche de la croisée
Il me semble que chaque note s’envole
De la flûte vers ma joue
Comme un mystérieux baiser.