A Little Ravel for Tuesday

Ravel’s piano music is known for its colorful palette, and its staggering technically difficulty. One piece that is within the reach of mere mortals is the Mother Goose Suite, a set of five character pieces for piano four hands (and later orchestrated as was often the case with Ravel). Although it was originally written for children, it has found a lasting place in the concert hall as well in the hearts of amateurs. (I even performed it in college as part of a student-faculty recital.)

Here it is in a nice performance from Cleveland with pianists Orion Weiss and Roman Rabinovich (who was just in town playing superb Rachmaninoff and interesting if not totally convincing Chopin). Although it is not impossible to imagine a six and seven year old (the ages of the original dedicatees) getting their fingers through this pieces, it isn’t really a beginners’ piece. The subtle touch, and reticent style that these two bring to it, not to mention the impeccable control, are things it seems you’d need some life experience to conjure.

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