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Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Thursday, January 14

Ravel reviewed

Synopsis

On today’s date in 1932, an all-Ravel concert was given in Paris by the Lamoureux Orchestra at the Salle Erard. Ravel himself was on hand, conducting some of his own works, including the premiere of his new Piano Concerto in G Major with pianist Marguerite Long the soloist.

The critics were enthusiastic about the music, but less so about Ravel’s conducting skills.

“Once again,” wrote one, “I wish to protest against the habit, more and more frequently indulged in, of attempting at all costs to bring a composer before the public in a part which he is incapable of filling. Monsieur Ravel is continually brought out as a pianist or as a conductor, whilst he cannot shine in either of these two specialties... His Pavane was unutterably slow, his Bolero dry and badly timed, and the accompaniment of the concerto lacked clarity and elasticity... But there can only be praise for the composer of all these delicate, subtle works, the orchestration of which abounds in amusing and profound inventions... The new concerto,” concludes the review, “is worthy of the other masterpieces we owe to Ravel.”

Music Played in Today's Program

Maurice Ravel (1875 – 1937) Piano Concerto in G Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano; Montréal Symphony; Charles Dutoit, cond. London 452 448

Additional Information

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