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Ravel Movement 1 Analysis

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by

Carl Emery

on 3 April 2013

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Transcript of Ravel Movement 1 Analysis

Analysis Ravel Piano Concerto in G
Movement I Structure: Exposition
First Subject
Themes Bar 1- Fig 1
Theme S1a Sonata Form - In structure but the key structure has been modified, expo contains a number a distinct themes. Dev is replaced by a mechanical toccata like section
Recap is shorter but begins with a powerful reminder of the opening. Second subject is recaped within the cadenza The opening theme contains important motivic ideas for the movement - as well as the rest of the concero (X,Y,Z themes) Opening melody contains a Basque like folk melody. Material from the transition shows influence of Spanish elements
and a number of themes show plenty of jazz influences Mood With the exception of two quiet interludes (Transition fig 4 and fig 20) is vivacious, lively and jazzy with a very 'American' feel - and very Gershwinesque . To note that Ravel traveled to USA in 1928 Tonality The overall tonality is G major Harmony Mainly diatonic- but there is also evidence of bitonality, modality, higher discords, dissonances, false relations, chords with raised and lowered 3rds, 'jazzy' chords and 'blue' notes. Writing for piano A 'pyrotechnic' piano part witch is a real 'tour de force' Very challenging passage work offset by magical, even mysterious moments of repose when the piano indulges in dreamy soliloquies that show Ravel's love of jazz. Movement shows the piano's expressive potential and exploits the instruments sonority potential for example weaving a trill into a melody (cadenza) Writing for orchestra Emerges as a demonstration of sheer musical colour. It begins with solos from the piccolo and trumpet employs creative use of percussion, glissandi and other effects. Orchestra complements the soloist by reinforcing the sensation of relentless energy, instruments are used to their maximum ability. Demanding writing for trumpet, bassoon and horn at various points. Structure 1+14+9+12+5+2 Rhythm: Duple Time, an exuberant and energetic start to the movement, quavers propel the music forward and the inclusion of triplets, syncopation and strategically placed string chords add to the momentum. Texture: Generally, this is melody dominated harmony. Orchestra takes the lead and the instrumentation is colourful with much of interest. Within this section there are, piccolo bar 2 and trumpet solos fig 2; pizzicato/arco/divsi strings; glissandi (fig 1) in piano, swirling upwards and downwards; and active and interesting percussion work. Accompanist here builds up. Bar 1 - Fig 1: With the whipcrack and snare drum roll in the first bar, the piano figuration provides an accompaniment very typical of Ravel, in that it is mechanical and repetitive in style. The arpeggio triplets in the piano and high register of the tremolando cello lines (harmonic) Dom. pedal contribute stylistically to the long snare drum roll. While the double basses remain tacet through this opening sentence, other strings are heard divisi, pizz an pp, which supports the colouring Exposition (106 bars)

First Subject bar 1 to Fig 4
Transition Fig 4- Fig 7
Second Subject Fig. 7- Fig 10 Development (Fig 10 65 bars)

Fig 10- Fig 18
Including cadenza at fig 17 Recapitulation Fig 18 (83 bars)
First Subject Fig 18 - Fig 20
Transition Fig 20 - Fig 26
Second Subject Fig 26 - Fig 29
(Cadenza) Coda Fig. 29 returns to toccata style
(69 bars)
Fig 29 - End Fig 1 - Fig 2 Rapid glissandi in contrary motion crescendos in the piano, effectively building up the texture and increasing the expectancy; which builds up to use four octaves. Texture is further enriched by percussion rolls, with animated and imitative bursts in the woodwind (bar 18 retrograde) also builds tension. Fig 2 - Fig 4 An orchestral passage, piano is tacet throughout. Features a feisty trumpet solo which repeats S1a accompanied by chordal support in brass, harp, and strings (no double bass until fig 3) From Fig 3 the full orchestra builds up the texture (piano still tacet) additional accents propel the music forward until the strong upward thrust allied with parallel harmonies and syncopated movement in brass lead up to expect more than the anti-climax it brings. Flutes and 2nd violins wind their way downward suddenly as the momentum collapses, for 2 bars of solo cor anglais accompanied by quiet pizzicato strings to conclude this opening section Theme: Piccolo melody:Above the triplet pp accompaniment in the piano the lively S1a theme is heard f in the piccolo, to suggest a fife, in line with Gallic traditions, Pentatonic, clear use of the X,Y,Z motif's used throughout the concerto

Very dissonant close piano along with the movements speed and string punctuation creates anticipation Themes Fig 1 - Fig 2
The pentatonic flavour and derivative figures of the theme are evident throughout the passage Fig 2 - Fig 4
The first 12 bars of S1 are repeated, heard in the trumpet Harmony Bar 1 - Fig 1 Slightly dissonant colouring to begin. The combination of G and neighbour-note F# triads in the piano is not strictly bitonal as the music is obviously quite settled in G major. Note that the piano entry begins on a semitone interval between the two hands (C# and D)
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