Date: July 1947
Creator: Henderson, Ruth, musician.
Description: Ravel' s "Tombeau de Couperin," a suite for piano, was published in 1918 by Durand. Its first performance was in the Salle Gaveau in Paris in April, 1919. Shortly afterwards Ravel scored four of the six movements of the piano suite for small orchestra, composed of flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, and horns in pairs, English horn, trumpet, harp, and strings, The new version was introduced in America in 1920. The four orchestrated movements, Prelude, Forlane, Menuet, and Rigaudon, have no programmatic content and the titles identify the forms used. "Le Tombeau de Couperin" is a souvenir of World War I. Each movement is dedicated to the memory of a French soldier fallen in battle. The "Tombeau" form dates from the seventeenth century and is a musical "homage" to Francois Couperin, clavecinist of Louis XIV, and one of the great names of French music. "The separate movements, cast in eighteenth century dance forms often used by Qouperin have been described as "tonal wreaths," not too somber nor too profuse, laid with tenderness on an unforgotten tomb." This piece represents Ravel's extreme effort to express himself in the simplest possible manner. The music is subtly archaic; form, line and texture artfully suggest ...
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries