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Le tombeau de Couperin
begun in the summer of 1914; piano version published in 1917; originally envisaged as a Suite française; first performed by Marguerite Long on 11 April 1919; four-movement orchestral suite completed the same year

'Ravel: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 2' (CKD315)
Ravel: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 2
MP3 £8.00FLAC £10.00ALAC £10.00 CKD315  Download only  
'Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music' (CDA67341/2)
Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music
'Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music' (CDA67731/2)
Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music
'LCO Live - Ravel, Fauré, Poulenc & Ibert' (SIGCD211)
LCO Live - Ravel, Fauré, Poulenc & Ibert
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99 SIGCD211  Download only  
'Moura Lympany – The HMV Recordings, 1947-1952' (APR6011)
Moura Lympany – The HMV Recordings, 1947-1952
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99 APR6011  for the price of 1 — Download only  
Movement 1: Prélude
Movement 2: Forlane
Movement 2: Fugue
Movement 3: Forlane
Movement 3: Menuet
Movement 4: Rigaudon
Movement 5: Menuet
Movement 6: Toccata
Track 1 on APR6011 CD2 [3'49] for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 19 on CDA67341/2 CD1 [4'08] 2CDs
Track 6 on CDA67731/2 CD2 [3'49] 2CDs
Track 23 on CKD315 [3'54] Download only

Le tombeau de Couperin
Ravel's last set of piano pieces, the suite Le tombeau de Couperin, acquired memorial significance only after his initial imagining of it as a Suite française: when young friends of his began to die in the trenches, a nostalgic look at eighteenth-century French music in general assumed more personal references. There is therefore very little if anything here that is solemn, let alone lugubrious. After a digitally challenging ‘Prélude’, the ‘Fugue’ (Ravel’s only published example of the form) unfolds with a sense of placid purpose, enlivened by the countersubject’s descending triplet. The ‘Forlane’, written in the summer of 1914, was the first movement to be written, and Ravel prepared for it by transcribing the forlane from Couperin’s fourth Concert royal, keeping the overall structure (ABACADA) but adorning it with some of his most acidic harmonies. After the ‘Rigaudon’, whose implacable outer sections enclose a dreamier central one, the last of his five ‘Menuets’ is a miracle of elegance and poise. The central musette brings with it a hint of the ‘Dies irae’ plainsong and builds into a powerful chromatic climax, before overlapping with insouciant skill beneath the return of the minuet. Ravel described the brilliant final ‘Toccata’ as ‘pure Saint-Saëns’—from him, a compliment to its excellent workmanship. Marguerite Long gave the first performance on 11 April 1919.

from notes by Roger Nichols © 2011

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67731/2 disc 2 track 2
Recording date
14 September 2010
Recording venue
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Andrew Keener
Recording engineer
David Hinitt
Hyperion usage
  1. Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music (CDA67731/2)
    Disc 2 Track 2
    Release date: March 2011
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