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This sumptuous Ravelian programme illustrates the composer’s talent as an orchestrator, with his inimitable flair for bringing out instrumental timbres, contrasting textures, and forging new sonic alloys.
Putting his spin on the Viennese waltz tradition—that of Schubert and Johann Strauss—Ravel breaks the mould in a vertiginous modernist kaleidoscope. This play on the ballroom dancing is juxtaposed with a fertile Spanish vein, linked to the composer’s Basque origins: the electric sensuality of Alborada del gracioso, the ‘morning song of the jester’ initially composed for piano, the stunning parade of colours in Rapsodie espagnole, a suite bursting with energy and contrasts, and lastly Boléro, whose obsessive, reptilian melody, far surpassing the composer’s expectations, has become the very symbol of orchestra music.
What can one say of Maurice Ravel, if not that his art—at once chaste and yet intensely modern, conveying unforgettable melodies—is the quintessential embodiment of French