Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ravel's Ma Mere L'oye

From wikipedia: "Ravel originally wrote Ma mère l'oye [Mother Goose Suite] as a piano duet for the Godebski children, Mimi and Jean, ages 6 and 7. Ravel dedicated this work for four hands to the children (just as he had dedicated an earlier work, Sonatine to their parents). Jeanne Leleu and Geneviève Durony premiered the work. "Both piano versions bear the subtitle "cinq pièces enfantines" (five children's pieces). The five "pieces" were as follows: I. Pavane de la belle au bois dormant Pavane of Sleeping Beauty Lent II. Petit Poucet Little Tom Thumb / Hop o' My Thumb Très modéré III. Laideronnette, impératrice des pagodes Little Ugly Girl, Empress of the Pagodas Mouvt de marche IV. Les entretiens de la belle et de la bête Conversation of Beauty and the Beast Mouvt de valse très modéré V. Le jardin féerique The Fairy Garden Lent et grave (I like the orchestrated version of this best-this video is pretty magical as well) More from wikipedia: "Sleeping Beauty and Little Tom Thumb were based on the tales of Charles Perrault, while Little Ugly Girl, Empress of the Pagodas was inspired by a tale (The Green Serpent) by Perrault's "rival" Madame d'Aulnoy. In this movement, Ravel takes advantage of the pentatonic scale. Beauty and the Beast is based upon the version of Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont. The origin of The Fairy Garden is not entirely known." The work was later expanded and orchestrated. As far as I know, this is the only classical version of Beauty and the Beast done by a well-known composer. Don't let the fact that this was composed for children fool you-the movements may be simple but they are truly beautiful and masterfully done.

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