Maurice Ravel

(1875 - 1937)

Alborada del gracioso

(1904 - 1905)

piano version / orchestral version

In this early piano work we can see the ever-present Spanish influence at work in the music of Ravel.In this brilliant composition, the piano acts as a guitar, a seductive voice, and a full orchestra.We can see the amazing pianistic technique of Ravel at play with his use of extremely fast repeated notes (very difficult!!!) and various other pianistic devices that created a sensation (as well as a clash between Ravel and Debussy, as each composer stated that they were the first one to utilize such techniques!) at the beginning of the 20th century.

The orchestra version is simply astonishing in its use of orchestral colors and brilliance. I suggest carefully listening to both versions and figuring out just how Ravel managed to transcribe incredibly pianistic writing for orchestra. Especially noteworthy is his fabulous use of a very large percussion section!

piano version

orchestral version