Bartók, Béla Viktor János
Bennet, Richard Rodney
Bozza, Eugène Joseph
Dahl, Walter Ingolf Marcus
Del Tredici, David
Griffes, Charles Tomlinson
Guarnieri, Mozart Camargo
Hanson, Howard Harold
Hüe, Georges Adolphe
Kennan, Kent Wheeler
La Montaine, John
Messiaen, Olivier Eugène Prosper Charles
Williams, Ralph Vaughan
Piece en forme de Habanera for flute and guitar
M. Ravel: Piece en forme de Habanera for flute and guitar was written in 1907. As original title suggests (Vocalise etude en forme de Habanera) it was composed as a song without words for baritone and piano. Due to his upbringing Ravel was fond of Spanish music, he renamed this vocal etude to Habanera and later transcribed it for cello and piano. Subsequently transcriptions for other instruments emerged as well, including flute and piano.
Boris Bagger (guitar & arrangement), 2015
Piece en forme de Habanera
Maurice Ravel (1875 – 1937) was a French composer, one of the most renown composers associated with Impressionism. Born in a small French village near Spanish border in a multicultural family (his father was a Swiss engineer and acclaimed inventor, and his mother was Basque), young boy was raised in cultural environment complimented with mother’s folk songs when the family moved to Paris. Initially educated by his father, Maurice took piano classes and later studied composition with Léo Delibes. During teenage years young boy was fascinated by music of R.Wagner and N. Rimsky-Korsakov as well as writers like E.A. Poe and Ch. Baudelaire that made a lasting impression on him. During his studies at the Conservatoire de Paris he gradually switched from piano to composition becoming pupil of Gabriel Fauré who praised Ravel’s “engaging wealth of imagination”.
Even though he was expelled from the Conservatoire for not winning any prizes and often criticized for his earliest works, Maurice always appeared immune to critique. At the turn of a 20th century Ravel joined “Les Apaches” (The Hooligans), a group of various artists who positioned themselves as artistic outcasts. This intellectually stimulating atmosphere lured many composers of that time, including I. Stravinsky, M. de Falla etc. The 5th unsuccessful attempt to win the Prix de Roma created national scandal and major reorganization in the Conservatory. By that time Ravel mostly composed for piano, subsequently arranging some of his compositions to orchestra. Out of two operas and three ballets written before World War I, the most prominent work, ballet Daphnis et Chloé (which Ravel described as “choreographic symphony”) was commissioned by famous impresario Sergei Diaghilev. Later Ravel extracted music from the ballet to make two orchestral suites. After several unsuccessful attempts to be enlisted in French Army, he managed to join artillery forces as a lorry driver. Among his most noteworthy compositions at that time is a suite Le tombeau de Couperin, commemorating a close friend who died in the war. After the war and the death of C. Debussy in 1918, Ravel was considered as the leading French composer of the 1920s period, composing one work per year: ballet music “La valse” (1920), violin rhapsody “Tzigane” (1924), and ballet “Boléro” (1928), commissioned by Ida Rubinstein. During that period he moved out of Paris to the countryside and went on tours throughout Europe, US and Canada.
In 1930s he composed two piano concertos from which the Concerto in D major for the Left Hand was written by comission of Austrian pianist P. Wittgenstein who lost his right arm during the war. After the car accident in 1932 and blow to the head Ravel started experience symptoms of aphasia with difficulty to formulate a thought that gradually led to ending his career.
Fun fact: during his lifetime Ravel refused to accept any honours of France (including Légion d'honneur) but accepted foreign awards. Among few pupils who received lessons from Ravel were Manuel Rosenthal and Vaughan Williams.