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#2003989 - 12/24/12 02:08 PM Second movement of Ravel's Concerto in G
pianoloverus Online   content
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Another recent thread where Hugh Sung plays his solo version of this movement reminded me of some questions about it.

What is the form of this movement and the melody? I have listened to it several times and even tried playing through a solo piano reduction but cannot follow what's happening. At least for the first few minutes the melody seems to just ramble on and never ends.

What is going on rhythmically in this movement? I cannot follow that either?


Edited by pianoloverus (12/24/12 02:08 PM)

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#2004009 - 12/24/12 03:09 PM Re: Second movement of Ravel's Concerto in G [Re: pianoloverus]
Kuanpiano Offline
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Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2137
Loc: Canada
The rhythm in this movement is very special - it's scored in 3/4 time, but the left hand, which provides the pulse, implies a 6/8 or duple time.

The material with opens the movement is used in the closing section - the melody in the piano part is played by the winds at the end, while the piano provides glittering scales.


Edited by Kuanpiano (12/24/12 03:10 PM)
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#2004090 - 12/24/12 06:56 PM Re: Second movement of Ravel's Concerto in G [Re: pianoloverus]
pianoslacker Offline
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Registered: 05/07/12
Posts: 50
I read that he composed this movement "two measures at a time, with the assistance of Mozart's Clarinet Quintet". I'd love to know what was actually involved in that.


(The book "A Ravel Reader" was one of the presents Santa brought me last year. Can't wait to see what I get this time!)

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#2004938 - 12/27/12 12:48 PM Re: Second movement of Ravel's Concerto in G [Re: pianoslacker]
bennevis Online   content
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Originally Posted By: pianoslacker
I read that he composed this movement "two measures at a time, with the assistance of Mozart's Clarinet Quintet". I'd love to know what was actually involved in that.




Like all great composers, he took what he needed from past masters and used it in his own music. The influence of the slow movement of Mozart's Clarinet Quintet on Ravel's own slow movement, is, IMO, in the long-breathed, seemingly never-ending clarinet melody over a throbbing string accompaniment. Ravel's melody is similarly long-breathed (and unlike the poor clarinettist, the pianist doesn't have to breathe... grin) over throbbing, regular chords (also with slow-changing harmonies) in LH.

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#2004943 - 12/27/12 12:54 PM Re: Second movement of Ravel's Concerto in G [Re: pianoloverus]
Nikolas Offline
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Registered: 11/26/07
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Loc: Europe
I've played this concerto...

The idea is exactly that: A very long melody at first, with the right hand at 3/4 and the left hand at 6/8... A solo piano work largely (this movement), gives the impression that nothing else will happen. And then Ravel gives us the middle part, with the rest of the orchestra slowly coming in, and the piano hitting (at the highest point) the low G, with the G#minor chord on top (*I think*... Correct me if I'm wrong... I haven't touched this score, for ages...).

Then the melody goes again at the very beginning with the winds playing the melody and the piano playing an arabesque of shorts...
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#2004994 - 12/27/12 02:41 PM Re: Second movement of Ravel's Concerto in G [Re: pianoloverus]
pianoloverus Online   content
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My main question, which most replies have at most just touched on, concerns the "melody" for the first few minutes. It seems to ramble on, kind of twisting and turning, but difficult(at least for me) to follow((I've only listened maybe four times). I feel like I could listen to this piece 100 times and not be able to sing or "follow" the melody.

Is this the way it sounds to those more familiar with this piece than me? Is this the way it's supposed to sound?

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#2005039 - 12/27/12 04:05 PM Re: Second movement of Ravel's Concerto in G [Re: pianoloverus]
Nikolas Offline
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Yes I think so. It's 2-3 minutes long without any real recup of any kind.
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#2005059 - 12/27/12 04:29 PM Re: Second movement of Ravel's Concerto in G [Re: bennevis]
pianoslacker Offline
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Registered: 05/07/12
Posts: 50
Originally Posted By: bennevis


Like all great composers, he took what he needed from past masters and used it in his own music. The influence of the slow movement of Mozart's Clarinet Quintet on Ravel's own slow movement, is, IMO, in the long-breathed, seemingly never-ending clarinet melody over a throbbing string accompaniment. Ravel's melody is similarly long-breathed (and unlike the poor clarinettist, the pianist doesn't have to breathe... grin) over throbbing, regular chords (also with slow-changing harmonies) in LH.


Interesting. I guess that's it in broad outlines - thanks. I don't know if I dreamt it, but think he also says somewhere in this book, "My music is nothing but Mozart", but I have the impression he loved to toss out these casual statements designed to puzzle and perplex.

As for the melody, the version I have has Krystian Zimerman on piano and vocals, so I guess it can be sung up to a point. But doesn't most extended so-called serious music avoid too obvious, clear-cut and singable melodies, because they're just too limiting?

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#2005084 - 12/27/12 05:41 PM Re: Second movement of Ravel's Concerto in G [Re: pianoslacker]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: pianoslacker
As for the melody, the version I have has Krystian Zimerman on piano and vocals, so I guess it can be sung up to a point. But doesn't most extended so-called serious music avoid too obvious, clear-cut and singable melodies, because they're just too limiting?
To me the "melody" in this movement is very different from almost all classical music and almost all Ravel. I don't think most classical pieces by Ravel or other classical composers have melodies that are hard to sing. In fact, I can't think of another non contemporary classical piece with melody harder to sing than this one.


Edited by pianoloverus (12/27/12 05:43 PM)

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#2005099 - 12/27/12 06:11 PM Re: Second movement of Ravel's Concerto in G [Re: pianoloverus]
pianoslacker Offline
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Registered: 05/07/12
Posts: 50
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
To me the "melody" in this movement is very different from almost all classical music and almost all Ravel. I don't think most classical pieces by Ravel or other classical composers have melodies that are hard to sing. In fact, I can't think of another non contemporary classical piece with melody harder to sing than this one.


I can't hear it that way. Even the melodies of Ravel's songs would be hard for anyone to sing who wasn't a professional - Histoires Naturelles, Chansons Medecasses, The Mallarme songs. There are some with simple melodies but they're mostly settings of folk tunes. Those would be a good example of what I'm calling limiting.

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#2005738 - 12/28/12 07:19 PM Re: Second movement of Ravel's Concerto in G [Re: pianoloverus]
dolce sfogato Offline
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Registered: 03/29/10
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Loc: Netherlands
sounds like a waltz, isn't though, volte-face by Ravel, the spicy dissonants (oboe entry) are heavenly, more difficult for the woodwinds than for the piano, they need good lungs.
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#2052972 - 03/23/13 02:32 PM Re: Second movement of Ravel's Concerto in G [Re: pianoloverus]
Evaldas Offline
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Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 112
Loc: Vilnius
I have a question smile
What does a natural next to nothing or floating in the air mean here at about 8:35 (first of two bars, under the B) smile?
Also, where would I be able to download the 4 hand score? Currently it's restricted in IMSLP (and has been for the past few months)? Or is it still under copyright?

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#2052998 - 03/23/13 03:25 PM Re: Second movement of Ravel's Concerto in G [Re: Evaldas]
chrisbell Offline
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Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1337
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: Evaldas
I have a question smile
What does a natural next to nothing or floating in the air mean here at about 8:35 (first of two bars, under the B) smile?
A reminder to play a B natural.
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#2053102 - 03/23/13 07:06 PM Re: Second movement of Ravel's Concerto in G [Re: dolce sfogato]
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8841
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
sounds like a waltz, isn't though, volte-face by Ravel, the spicy dissonants (oboe entry) are heavenly, more difficult for the woodwinds than for the piano, they need good lungs.

Always struck me as a delicious waltz, yet an entirely different take on the genre from, say, La Valse.

The movement has a reputation for being difficult to memorize. That I can understand -having read through it myself- but reportedly Martha Argerich memorized it on her first read-through.
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#2053164 - 03/23/13 08:48 PM Re: Second movement of Ravel's Concerto in G [Re: Evaldas]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7784
Originally Posted By: Evaldas

Also, where would I be able to download the 4 hand score? Currently it's restricted in IMSLP (and has been for the past few months)? Or is it still under copyright?


The two-piano arrangement is still under copyright - there's some information about that on IMSLP if you scroll down the main page for that version.

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