Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

Jean Baptiste Vuillaume, Vi (1850)
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In September of 1922, the French music magazine Revue Musicale published a featured article on the 77-year-old composer Gabriel Fauré and asked Maurice Ravel to compose a special piece for his mentor. Ravel used the letters in Fauré's name to create a melodic string of notes "GABDBEEFAGDE," and thus emerged the piece Berceuse sur le nom de Gabriel Fauré. In the beginning of the piece, when the melody representing Fauré appears, the descending figures in the piano accompaniment convey a restless, somber feeling, as if hinting at the deteriorating health of Ravel's mentor. Subsequently, the violin plays the three notes "AGD" repeatedly, in a sincere manner as if saying "thank you" over and over again. The melody representing Fauré appears repeatedly in a dream-like, tranquil setting of reminiscence. Toward the end the melody is even played by the piano, while the violin plays overtones as the volume of the piece decreases and gradually fades in the end. Although the piece is less than three minutes long, which might have been due to Ravel's composition habits and his unstable situation at the time, it reveals the profound admiration and respect Ravel had for his teacher. The violin used in this recording was made by French luthier Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume (1798-1875) in 1850.