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Maurice Ravel - Miroirs

"Miroirs" (Reflections) is a suite for solo piano written by French impressionist composer Maurice Ravel between 1904 and 1905, first performed by Ricardo Viñes in 1906.
Around 1900, Maurice Ravel joined a group of innovative young artists, poets, critics, and musicians referred to as Les Apaches or “hooligans”, a term coined by Ricardo Viñes to refer to his band of “artistic outcasts”. To pay tribute to his fellow artists, Ravel began composing Miroirs in 1904 and finished it the following year. Movements 3 and 4 were subsequently orchestrated by Ravel, while Movement 5 was orchestrated by Percy Grainger, among other.
Miroirs has five movements, each dedicated to a member of Les Apaches:
1. “Noctuelles” (“Night Moths”) - Dedicated to Léon-Paul Fargue, Noctuelles is a highly chromatic work, maintaining a dark, nocturnal mood throughout. The middle section is calm with rich, chordal melodies, and the recapitulation takes place a fifth below the first entry.
2. “Oiseaux tristes” (“Sad Birds”) - Dedicated to Ricardo Viñes, this movement represents a lone bird whistling a sad tune, after which others join in. The rambunctious middle section is offset by a solemn cadenza which brings back the melancholy mood of the beginning.
3. “Une barque sur l’océan” (“A boat on the Ocean”) - Dedicated to Paul Sordes, the piece recounts a small boat as it sails upon the waves of the ocean. Arpeggiated sections and sweeping melodies imitate the flow of ocean currents. It is the longest piece of the set, and, with the exception of Alborada del Gracioso, the most technically difficult.
4. “Alborada del gracioso” (“The Gracioso’s Aubade”) - Dedicated to Michel-Dimitri Calvocoressi, Alborada is a technically challenging piece that incorporates Spanish musical themes into its complicated melodies.
5. “La vallée des cloches” (“The Valley of Bells”) - Dedicated to Maurice Delage, the piece evokes the sounds of various bells through its use of sonorous harmonies.

Pianist: Jean-Efflam Bavouzet

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Costume design by Riccardo Tisci, Givenchy’s creative director, for a ballet of Maurice Ravel’s 17-minute composition Bolero, based on the Spanish dance, a collaboration between Marina Abramovic and Belgian choreographers, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet; photographed for Dazed & Confused July 2013

Speaking of his initial costume inspirations, Riccardo Tisci said, “I wanted to create something very strong, very sexual. And very me. I was inspired by romance. The skeleton design is very dramatic but the nude colour of the fabric has a sense of romance- I wanted the dancers to feel naked. For me, the skeleton balanced death and beauty. I decided not to use materials associated with classic ballet, such as feathers and beading. I wanted to keep it minimal but also strong, because the bolero is about jealousy and intensity. I began with the black cape, because it has been key to my career. I imagined the men and women turning in the cape. I imagined the moment they would remove the cape, and underneath would be a nude catsuit in illusion tulle embroidered with a lace skeleton. They shed several layers as they dance, just like the lifecycle of animals or flowers losing their petals. They became these moving skeletons, strong and fragile at the same time.”

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Roarhaven Times presents: Dead Men

In the crisis time of Sanctuary War, the infamous Dead Men have reassembled to stand behind the Irish Sanctuary of Roarhaven. This includes newly initiated member, Valkyrie Cain. Exclusive first looks inside - (click to enlarge)

[individual articles + full interviews]

Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky, c. 1913. Stravinsky recalled fondly of Ravel’s defense of The Rite of Spring in later years during one of his Harvard lectures: "I hold that it was wrong to have considered me a revolutionary. When the Rite appeared, many opinions were advanced concerning it. In the tumult of contradictory opinions, my friend Maurice Ravel intervened practically alone to set matters right. He was able to see, and he said, that the novelty of the Rite consisted, not in the writing, not in the orchestration, not in the technical apparatus of the work, but in the musical entity.”

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