“Le Tombeau de Couperin”, in the original arrangement for piano, performed by Angela Hewitt:
As always with Ravel, the clarity of the individual melodic lines and the ripe potential for orchestration is readily apparent. Though it may be that I am reverse-engineering a composition to justify my analysis, I do believe that there is something special in Ravel’s piano music that seems to contain the pure distilled essence of melody and musicality – that kernel of imagination that almost cries out for sketching out with the full tonal palate of the full orchestra.
But sometimes it is nice to enjoy the purity of the original, and Angela Hewitt does not disappoint in this CBC Music recording. There are some moments of real melting tenderness in this performance – indeed, the six movements of the suite were each individually dedicated to friends or relatives of Ravel who had died fighting in the First World War.