Ravel – Mother Goose Suite (Ma Mère L’Oye)

by Max Derrickson

Maurice Joseph Ravel (1875-1937)

Mother Goose Suite (Ma Mère L’Oye)

Ravel’s  creations are an entire texture of sound; you are entitled to a grand view of the scene, sensing the temperature of the air, the smell of the wind, perceiving the shadings of light, and feeling the texture of the ground beneath your bare feet.

Ravel composed the Mother Goose Suite between 1908-1910 for piano (four hands), and orchestrated it in 1912. It was later choreographed by the Russian impresario Serge Diagalev. Ravel is continually associated with the Impressionist period of music and art, and with Claude Debussy, yet Ravel never agreed entirely with those associations. It is true that his music shimmers with these influences, but Ravel’s compositional style was far more unique. An affinity for sharply defined formal structure appears in many of his works, as well as the influence of other cultural musical styles. In Mother Goose, for example, Ravel borrows Javanese musical motifs in “Laideronnette, imperatrice des pagodes” with its stratified textures and use of percussion.

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