...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


le tombeau de couperin

A really enchanting piece by Maurice Ravel.

I had never heard of Le Tombeau de Couperin
until my sweetie told me that it's one of her favorites.

Apparently, even before the outbreak of the first World War,
Ravel was planning to write a "French suite" for piano, using 18th century models.
What started out as an homage to musical predecessors (namely Francois Couperin)
evolved into a tribute to friends who had died while serving in the war.

Le Tombeau (the tomb) is actually a musical term popular in the 17th century
 and means "a piece written as a memorial."

The piano version is in six movements.
There is also an orchestral version, which Ravel completed at a later date.

I prefer the piano version,
though the orchestral version naturally has different dimensions
with all of the added instruments.

Here's a link to the orchestral version if you'd like to hear it:

The pieces don't strike me as full of grief or somber,
though they are  moments of very tender sadness,
there are many more moments that are reeling with joy
and some that make me feel like I'm running through a field on a beautiful day.

They have a certain light-heartedness,
which makes me think they are more about remembering
with love and joy
his dear friends
than they are about missing them.

Or maybe both are existing at the same time.

If you have twenty-five minutes to spare in your busy life,
both versions are worth your full attention.

Angela Hewitt is most know for her Bach interpretations,
but she does a very fine job with Ravel here.

I like watching her play,
you can see how she deeply feels and connects with the music.


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