Hyperion Records

Gaspard de la nuit
composer
1908; inspired by the poetry of Aloysius Bertrand; first performed by Ricardo Viñes on 9 January 1909

Recordings
'Ravel: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 1' (CKD290)
Ravel: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 1
CKD290  Download only  
'Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music' (CDA67341/2)
Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music
Buy by post £20.00 CDA67341/2  2CDs  
'Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music' (CDA67731/2)
Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music
Buy by post £20.00 CDA67731/2  2CDs  
Details
Movement 1: Ondine
Movement 2: Le gibet
Movement 3: Scarbo

Gaspard de la nuit
EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Although Ricardo Viñes had arrived in Paris in 1887 as a boy knowing no French, he soon learnt large portions of French literature by heart and it was he who introduced Ravel to Aloysius Bertrand’s book of poems Gaspard de la nuit, written between 1832 and 1836 and published in 1842. The poems appealed to Ravel’s love of fairytales and the supernatural, and to his taste for Edgar Allan Poe’s macabre stories. The spirit of Liszt also hovers over Ravel’s three pieces, in the brilliance of the writing and no less in its technical demands. The water nymph Ondine tries to lure the author down to be king in her underwater palace: beauty and danger are wonderfully combined in Ravel’s score, and to this end he asked that Ondine’s theme should not stand out but should be absorbed into the surrounding atmosphere. Likewise in ‘Le gibet’ the bell, ringing for the corpse of the hanged man glowing red in the setting sun, ‘does not dominate, it is, it tolls unwearyingly’. Sad to say, Viñes insisted on livening up the piece, and after the premiere on 9 January 1909 Ravel entrusted him with no more first performances. Scarbo, the malevolent dwarf, here one moment, gone the next, is the master of surprises: ‘How many times have I heard his laughter buzz in the shadows of my alcove, and his fingernails scratching on the silk curtains round my bed!’ Ravel admitted that he had wanted to write a piece more difficult than Balakirev’s Islamey, but that ‘perhaps I let myself get carried away!’

from notes by Roger Nichols © 2011

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67341/2 disc 2 track 5
Scarbo
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-01-34205
Duration
9'24
Recording date
14 August 2001
Recording venue
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Ludger Böckenhoff
Recording engineer
Ludger Böckenhoff
Hyperion usage
  1. Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music (CDA67341/2)
    Disc 2 Track 5
    Release date: April 2002
    2CDs
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