Composer: Maurice Ravel (b. 1875 - d. 1937)
Performance date: 29/06/2022
Venue: Bantry House
Composition Year: 1911
Recording Engineer: Eduardo Prado, Ergodos
Zoltán Fejérvári -
Maurice Ravel [1875-1937]
Valses nobles et sentimentales 
2. Assez lent
4. Assez animé
5. Presque lent
7. Moin vif
8. Épilogue. Lent
Ravel candidly acknowledged Schubert’s Valses Nobles as his model for the Valses nobles et sentimentales. The urbanity and sophistication of Ravel’s waltzes are characteristic of his style. At the top of his manuscript he wrote, the delightful and always novel pleasure of a useless occupation, which perfectly encapsulates the joy he derived from Schubert’s waltzes, in writing his own tribute to them and the pleasure he expected to create in the listeners. The distinctive use of dissonance and strengthened harmony would not allow us to confuse Ravel for Schubert and it would be hard to imagine ladies in 19th Century dresses successfully dancing to Ravel’s tunes. But Ravel, a master at orchestration, later arranged the music for orchestra and a ballet, Adélaïde, ou le langage des fleurs, commissioned by a famous Russian ballerina, Natasha Trouhanova. The drama of the ballet is set in 1820 and centres around a courtesan in Paris, Adelaide, who exchanges flowers with her lovers to indicate the passions at play in the drama. It’s easy to imagine this music as a soundtrack to such a drama. There are no direct quotations from Schubert to Ravel – the modelling is based on a resemblance of structure and harmonic similarities and the traditional waltz form. Ravel gives a 20th Century French twist to a 19th Century Viennese framework.
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