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katya-oddio on 04/19/2013 at 04:45PM

Ma Mère l'Oye

Detail from Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke, c. 1860 by British painter Richard Dadd (1819–1887)

Saturday, April 20th is the anniversary of the 1910 premiere of Ravel's Ma Mère l'Oye in Paris, France. Ma Mère l'Oye: Cinq Pièces Enfantines (Mother Goose: Five Children's Pieces) was originally composed for two pianos, a duet for Mimi and Jean Godebski, ages 6 and 7. Later the same year, the work was transcribed for solo piano by Ravel's friend Jacques Charlot. In 1911, Ravel orchestrated the work for a full orchestra, and in 1912, he expanded it into a ballet. It was recently arranged for a string quartet, as well.

The solo work is performed on the Free Music Archive by Felipe Sarro in a collection of Ravel compositions for single piano.

The five pieces of both the duet and the solo piano suites of Ma Mère l'Oye are:

1. Courtly Dance of Sleeping Beauty (Pavane de la belle au bois dormant)
2. Little Tom Thumb (Petit Poucet)
3. Little Ugly Girl, Empress of the Pagodas (Laideronnette, impératrice des pagodes)
4. Conversation of Beauty and the Beast (Les entretiens de la belle et de la bête)
5. The Fairy Garden (Le jardin féerique)

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katya-oddio on 06/14/2010 at 09:30AM

Bach for Piano

detail from album cover

Brazillian pianist Felipe Sarro performs original works by German Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach, as well as nine transcriptions of Bach's work for piano by Russian composer Alexander Ilyich Siloti. Sarro performed all pieces on a Grotrian-Steinweg Concertino piano.

There are over 1,000 known compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (Bach Works Catalogue) is a numbering system identifying his compositions. The prefix BWV, followed by the work's number is the shorthand identification for Bach's compositions. The works in the BWV are grouped thematically, not chronologically.

Sarro begins the CD with one of the six suites written for the clavier (harpsichord or clavichord) between 1722 and 1725 known as "The French Suites." The suite is followed by the Sinfonia No. 11 in G minor. It is part of the "Inventions and Sinfonias," a collection of 30 short keyboard compositions composed between 1685 and 1750, consisting of fifteen inventions (two-part contrapuntal  pieces) and fifteen sinfonias (three-part contrapuntal pieces). They were originally written by Bach as exercises for the musical education of his students. He titled the collection:

"Honest method, by which the amateurs of the keyboard – especially, however, those desirous of learning – are shown a clear way not only (1) to learn to play cleanly in two parts, but also, after further progress, (2) to handle three obligate parts correctly and well; and along with this not only to obtain good inventions (ideas) but to develop the same well; above all, however, to achieve a cantabile style in playing and at the same time acquire a strong foretaste of composition."

Quite the title!


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