Le Tombeau de Couperin

From the very start of composing Le Tombeau de Couperin, Ravel – as he himself said – thought he heard orchestral colours, primarily those of the oboe, that led him to score four movements of what was originally a piano suite for orchestra. It is more than likely that what enticed Ravel to arrange the piece for a relatively small ensemble was the hope of giving it broader exposure, and it is no wonder that he left out the Fugue and the Toccata, the former probably for formal reasons, and the latter in all likelihood because of issues with scoring it. The Fugue – in terms of its musical material – recalls the sound of some kind of medieval consort, while the Toccata absolutely calls for a large ensemble.

(Zoltán Kocsis)


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