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Le Tombeau de Couperin

From Academic Kids

Le Tombeau de Couperin is a suite for solo piano by Maurice Ravel, composed between 1914 and 1917.

It is in six movements. Each movement is dedicated to the memory of a friend of the composer who had died fighting in World War I.:

  • I. Prlude
"To the memory of Lieutenant Jacques Charlot" (who transcribed Ravel's four hand piece Ma Mre l'Oye for solo piano)
  • II. Fugue
"To the memory of Jean Cruppi"
  • III. Forlane
"To the memory of Lieutenant Gabriel Deluc"
  • IV. Rigaudon
"To the memory of Pierre and Pascal Gaudin"
  • V. Menuet
"To the memory of Jean Dreyfus"
  • VI. Toccata
"To the memory of Captain Joseph de Marliave"

In 1919 Ravel orchestrated four movements of the work (Prélude, Forlane, Menuet and Rigaudon); this version was first performed in 1920, and has remained one of his more popular works.

While the word-for-word meaning of the title invites the assumption that the suite is a programmatic work, describing what is seen and felt in a visit to the tomb of Couperin, tombeau is actually a musical term popular in an earlier century and meaning a piece written as a memorial. The specific Couperin (among a family noted as musicians for about two centuries) that Ravel intended to be evoked, along with the friends, would presumably be Franois Couperin "the Great" (1668-1733). However, Ravel stated that his intention was never to imitate or tribute Couperin himself, but rather was to pay homage to the sensibilities of the Baroque French keyboard suite. This is reflected in the structure which imitates a Baroque dance suite.

David Diamond has more recently made an orchestration of the second movement Fugue.nl:Le tombeau de Couperin ja:クープランの墓 pl:Nagrobek_Couperina fr:Le Tombeau de Couperin (Ravel)

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