Musique Obscure: Maurice Ravel

This is one of my favorite compositions from French composer Maurice Ravel.  Will this help your bass playing?  Probably not.  But you should take a day off once in a while.  If only I would heed my own advice.

Ravel1Maurice Ravel’s Trio for piano, violin and cello is a chamber work composed in 1914 and dedicated to Ravel’s counterpoint teacher André Gedalge.

In composing the Trio, Ravel was aware of the compositional difficulties posed by the genre: how to reconcile the contrasting sonorities of the piano and the string instruments, and how to achieve balance between the three instrumental voices – in particular, how to make that of the cello stand out from the others, which are more easily heard.  In tackling the former problem, Ravel adopted an orchestral approach to his writing: by making extensive use of the extreme ranges of each instrument, he created a texture of sound unusually rich for a chamber work.  He liberally employed coloristic effects such as trills, tremolos, harmonics, glissandos, and arpeggios, thus demanding a high level of technical proficiency from all three musicians.  Meanwhile, to achieve clarity in texture and to secure instrumental balance, Ravel frequently spaced the violin and cello lines two octaves apart, with the right hand of the piano playing between them.

Ravel Piano Trio in A Minor