John Kane plays Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit Ondine 7:20 Le Gibet
Also available for viewing with musical score at:http://www.youtube.com/watc...
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" I wanted to make a caricature of romanticism. Perhaps it got the better of me."
—Maurice Ravel, on Scarbo
Gaspard de la nuit: Trois poèmes pour piano d'après Aloysius Bertrand is a piece for solo piano by Maurice Ravel, written in 1908. It has three movements, each based on a poem by Aloysius Bertrand. The work was premiered on January 9, 1909 in Paris by Ricardo Viñes.
The piece is famous for its incredible difficulty, partly because Ravel intended the Scarbo movement to be more difficult than Balakirev's Islamey. Because of its technical challenges and profound musical structure, it is considered one of the most-difficult solo piano pieces in the standard repertoire.
"...I believed I heard; a dim harmony charming my sleep. And close by me spread a similar murmur of uninterrupted songs from a sad and tender voice..." - Ch. Brugnot "Les Deux Genies".
"Listen! Listen! It is me, Ondine, spirit of the water, brushing with these drops of water the resonant diamond panes of your window lighted by the gloomy rays of the moon; and here in a silk dress, is the lady of the manor, gazing from her balcony at the beautiful starry night and the lovely sleeping lake."
"Each wave is a water sprite who swims in the current; each current is a path, winding toward my palace, and my palace is fluidly built, at the bottom of the lake, in the triangle formed by fire, earth, and air."
"Listen! Listen! My father is beating the croaking water with a green alder branch, and my sisters caress, with their arms of foam, the cool islands of grass, of water lilies, and gladiolas or tease the decrepit willow, who is fishing with a line of leaves."
Her song murmured, she begged me to receive her ring on my finger, to be her husband, and to visit her palace with her, to be the king of the lakes.
And when I answered that I loved a mortal woman, sullen and vexed, she cried a few tears, burst out laughing, and vanished in a sudden shower that streamed white down my blue windowpanes.
Le Gibet (The Gallows)
Ah! Could what I hear be the yelping of the cold night wind, or the hanged man giving forth a sigh on the gallows fork.
Could it be some cricket singing, crouched in the moss and the sterile ivy that the forest wears out of pity?
Could it be some fly on the hunt, blowing its horn around those ears deaf to the fanfare of tally-hos?
Could it be some beetle plucking, in its uneven flight a bloody hair from its bald skull?
Or could it be some spider embroidering a half yard of muslin as a tie for that strangled neck?
It is the bell tolling to the walls of a city under the horizon, and the carcass of a hanged man reddened by the setting sun.
Oh! How often I have heard and seen him, Scarbo, when at midnight the moon shines in the sky like a silver shield on a blue banner strewn with golden bees!
How often I have heard his laughter booming in the shadow of my alcove and the grating of his nails on the silk curtain of my bed!
How often I have seen him come down from the ceiling, pirouetting on one foot and rolling through the room like the spindle fallen from the distaff of a witch.
Did I then believe he vanished? The dwarf would grow bigger between the moon and me like the bell tower of a gothic cathedral, a little golden bell swinging on his pointed cap!
But soon his body would turn blue, diaphanous like the wax of a taper, his face would grow pale like the wax of a candle stub--and suddenly he would fade away.