Maurice Ravel

(1875 - 1937)

The Spanish Hour

(L’Heure espagnole)


If Rapsodie espagnole was Ravel’s first orchestral work of significance, The Spanish Hour was his first international success, essentially launching the widespread fame of the composer. 

This opera was dedicated to Ravel’s father Joseph, and the introduction heard here may be summed up as a highly poetic example of Swiss precision engineering (recall that Joseph Ravel was a Swiss engineer).The opera takes place in a clock repair/sales shop, and we hear the various clocks ticking away at the outset of the opera. Can you discern the use of “planing” or constant parallel motion of chords that we briefly discussed during rehearsal? Highly intriguing music! Are you getting the idea yet that Ravel was obsessed with his Basque/Spanish roots?