Composer Players Instrument Notation Period
Ravel, Maurice (1875-1937) solo guitar standard 20th Century

The place was Paris, France; the date, April 20, 1910; the event, the inaugural concert of the Soci?t? Musicale Ind?pendente; the music, the world premier of piano duets by the foremost composer of his day, Maurice Ravel. In spite of the enormous pressure on the players in this situation, the composer was greatly pleased by the performance. He wrote to one of the pianists, "Mademoiselle, when you are a great virtuosa and I either an old fogey, covered with honors, or else completely forgotten, you will perhaps have pleasant memories of having given an artist the very rare joy of hearing a work of his, one of a rather special nature, interpreted exactly as it should be. Thank you a thousand times for your child-like and sensitive performance . . . " The pianist who received this lavish praise? Jeanne Leleu, age seven! Mlle. Leleu was apparently not a child prodigy, but she did later have a career as a concert pianist. Three years after this recital, Ravel wrote a brief prelude that he dedicated to her and which is the featured transcription of this installment of The Transcriber's Art [see GFA Soundboard Spring 1998]. It is charming miniature, rarely heard, and I believe not previously transcribed for guitar. It is guitar-sized for the most part, although the range is a bit wider than we guitarists are comfortable with - more on this problem soon. Ravel's comments on the music for Mlle. Leleu's recital might well have been made about the Pr?lude: "My intention of awakening the poetry of childhood in these pieces naturally led me to simplify my style and thin out my writing." 1 page, 60KB]

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