Recorded on 05/20/2008, uploaded on 01/25/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Maurice Ravel composed Gaspard de la Nuit, which roughly
translates as "Artful Dodger of the Night," in 1908, inspired by three poems of
Aloysius Bertrand. These nightmarish
pieces masterfully depict the poetry's impressionist imagery in Ravel's most
challenging cycle for the piano.
first poem, Ondine, depicts a water nymph, luring a man into the water to
become her husband. When her pleas are rejected, she "burst out laughing and
vanished in showers that formed white trickles down my blue windowpanes."
(Bertrand.) This beguiling image is portrayed with shimmering tremolando accompaniment passing from
right hand to left, and by a gorgeous melody and waterfall-like climaxes.
me down here, Ondine, splashing all these droplets against your casement
windowpanes so that they echo, here in the dim, regretful moonlight; and up
there, high above us in her black silk dress, is the chateau's lady upon her
balcony, gazing out at this beautiful starry night and at my lovely, sleeping
And when her softly murmured song
was done, she begged me outright to slip her ring on my finger,
so as to become an Ondine's husband; and to return with her to her palace,
there to become king of the lakes."
And when I told her I loved a mortal woman, she
pouted as if vexed; then shed a teardrop or two--but
finally burst out into laughter, to dissolve then like radiant raindrops,
streaming down the length of my
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
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