Work: Miroirs: Alborada del gracioso
About This Work
In 1918, almost 14 years after originally composing the work, Maurice Ravel made an orchestral version of Alborada del gracioso (The Jester's Morning Serenade), the fourth of the pieces that make up Miroirs (1904-1905). While the original piano
version remains a recital favorite, the orchestral version has enjoyed even greater popularity as a concert-hall staple.
Ravel orchestrated a great many of his own piano works with great success -- most famously, Le tombeau de Couperin, Valses nobles et sentimentales, Menuet antique, Ma mère l'oye, and Tzigane. In Alborada del gracioso, similarly, Ravel is in top form in translating his music from one medium to another. Most of the transcription is rather straightforward, with little in the way of actual recomposition, and the effective use of the percussion section is particularly striking.
The harp and pizzicato strings, which provide a spiky opening, are soon joined in more melodious fashion by members of the woodwind section. Energetic compound-meter rhythms and colorful glissandi in the woodwinds find splendid contrast in the stiller central section, which begins with a plaintive recitativo-like passage for solo bassoon. Ravel's few changes to the original score are subtle; most often, certain passages are elongated for maximal exploitation of coloristic possibilities, as in the woodwind flourishes that wrap around the final glissando.
-- Blair Johnston
Select a specific Performer, Conductor or Ensemble or browse recordings by Formats & Featured below