1911: Ravel: Mother Goose Suite

FRIDAY, October 2, 2020 – 4:00 AM

(If you’re having a bad day, or if you just want to chill with some beautiful, relaxing music, this is about as good as it gets. I wonder if we will mostly see small groups in the future, all spaced wide because of Covid. It would be so nice to revisit this post in six months or a year and find out Covid is a thing of the past.)

Ravel: Mother Goose Suite, age 36

The French title makes me smile…

It is “Ma mère l’Oye”, and it literally means: “My mother the goose”.

Instrumentation:

  • 2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (2nd doubling English horn), 2 clarinets in B♭ and A, 2 bassoons (2nd doubling contrabassoon)
  • 2 horns in F
  • timpani, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, tamtam, glockenspiel, xylophone, celesta, glockenspiel
  • harp
  • strings

There is a long story about this, now it started out as a piano duet written for little kids, then later became both a suite and a ballet. But I think the music stands on its own. Note that there are only two horns, no other brass, but Ravel did not skimp on percussion instruments. In fact, the growth of the percussion section over many years is in itself a very interesting subject.

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