This concert has been cancelled due to government Covid-19 restrictions. Ticket holders will be contacted by the responsible organisation.
Ravel on historical instruments? Hahaha! Historical instruments are for early music. However, in the late 18 th century the Academy of Ancient Music was playing mainly Handel; in other words, music that was 50 years old was “early music” for them. And most of the works on tonight’s programme are over 100 years old! And the style of Ravel’s time is thoroughly different from “our” style. Reasons enough to go in search of “another” Ravel. Poulenc said “Un compositeur se laisse influencer par son piano” and “Ravel composait sur un vieil piano Erard” (piano, ed.). And Hélène Jourdan-Morhange, a friend and chamber-music partner of Ravel’s, wrote in 1953 that people were starting to forget the “tradition ravéllienne”! Ravel wrote for the colours of the typical French instruments of his time. “Bolero” presents them to us one by one. It will be the first piece on the programme! We will use Ravel’s tempo indications (“C’est une usine qui inspira mon Bolero”). Or would you rather hear the exoticism of “Shéhérazade”? Or “La Valse”, definitely not the Viennese one, expresses the traumas of the First World War. Ravel called the “Rapsodie espagnole” an “étude d’orchestre”. In the “Pavane” we hear the “cor simple”, the natural horn as it was loved and taught in Paris at the time. And we’ll let ourselves be overwhelmed by the “Concerto for the Left Hand”, played of course by Frank Braley on an Erard concert grand built in 1899, when Ravel was 24 years old.
Jos van Immerseel
Translation by Anne Hodgkinson