Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) is one of the most highly renowned composers in the history of music. His solo piano and chamber works, symphonic frescos and operas are universally celebrated and performed by musicians on every continent season after season.
Just like the great works of writers and playwrights, it is crucial that Maurice Ravel’s musical masterpieces are given the critical attention they deserve in the form of new scientific editions based on original sources (the composer’s manuscripts, parts belonging to Ravel himself and to his peers and contemporaries, comparative works of the first printed editions, etc.).
And so, Ravel Edition was born, initiated by a group of renowned musicologists and musicians united by their passion for the works of Maurice Ravel, published in Belgium by XXI Music Publishing ASBL.
This scientific endeavour, offering a collection of editions that are free of the numerous inaccuracies found in previous publications, pays homage to the composer in a bid to spread his name further and wider amongst both professional and amateur musicians, and across the broader community of music lovers worldwide.
Guided by the expertise of its Publishing Committee, formed of professionals from the publishing and music industry, and drawing on the vast experience of the renowned musicians that make up its Peer Review Group, the Ravel Edition project successfully combines the specialist knowledge of expert musicologists with the interpretive insight of experienced artists, resulting in the publication of a world-class scientific edition.
Volume 1 of the Ravel Edition, published in November 2018 and dedicated to the composer’s Bolero, offers a brand-new perspective by presenting the original “1928 Ballet” version for the very first time, in addition to a revised edition of the “1929 Concert” version. It was this version that was selected by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam for its performance of the work in January 2019, conducted by George Benjamin.
Volume 2 (2019), dedicated to the composer’s Piano Concerto in G Major was commissioned by the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, the Orchestre national d’Auvergne and the Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse.
Ravel’s 1922 orchestration of Modest Moussorgski’s Pictures at an Exhibition (Volume 3 2019-20) has also been revised. To date, we have only produced a revised edition of the orchestral parts (we expect to publish a critical edition in 2020). This 2019 edition was commissioned by Les Siècles, the Fondation Ravel, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Gürzenich Orchester in Cologne. It will be performed by Les Siècles with François-Xavier Roth at the Philharmonie de Paris in November 2019 as part of a cycle of Ravel’s works, and will be recorded for Harmonia Mundi. This recording was awarded : Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, finalist of the International Classical Music Awards 2020 and selected as one of the best 2020 recordings by BR Klassik radio and The Guardian.
Volume 4 is devoted to the Concerto for the Left Hand, this revised edition was commissioned by Louis Langrée and Bertrand Chamayou and commissioned by the Maurice Ravel Foundation, the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, the Orchestre national des Pays de la Loire and the Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse.
Volume 5 is dedicated to Tzigane - Rapsodie de concert (violin and orchestra version), this revised edition is at the initiative of the violinist Renaud Capuçon.
During the year 2021 will be published the new editions of : Ma Mère l'Oye (Complete Ballet and Five Pieces), String Quartet andTzigane in its version with piano.
Ravel Edition Volume 1 : Bolero
Reading committee: Louis Langrée – Alain Pâris – Pascal Rophé
- A 9,45 × 13,39 in volume of 212 pages. Sewn binding. 4 oz (120 grams) papers.
- Illustrations: 22 photos (mostly unpublished). Facsimile reproductions of the 1928 manuscripts, unreleased details of the 1928 orchestral manuscript, letters of Maurice Ravel, historical scores (Maurice Ravel and Piero Coppola) and photos (Ida Rubinstein Ballet Company, Coppola’s recording session…).
- 104 pages of scores
- General foreword of 25 pages on the history of the work and its reception by Manuel Cornejo.
- Essay of Alain Pâris about the first recording of Bolero in comparison with the score.
- Full discography of Bolero (1930 to 1939) by Jean Touzelet.
- Critical Apparatus on 27 pages introducing all detailed sources and unpublished analysis on the 1928 orchestral manuscript located at The Morgan Library plus the orchestral sketches (Bibliothèque nationale de France). The Corrections and Notes (10 pages) list all editorial mistakes and problems from the first publications of the work.
- Texts and Critical apparatus available in French/English.
BALLET VERSION 1928 (unpublished)
François Dru & Quentin Hindley, editors
Francois Dru and Quentin Hindley, editors. Unpublished introduction of the 1928 version as premiered by the Ida Rubinstein Ballets at The Paris Opera House. Edition based on the 1928 manuscript of The Morgan Library.
CONCERT VERSION 1929
Quentin Hindley, editor
Corrected edition from the Ravel’s emendations and other corrections by famous conductors first printings of the work.
Ravel Edition Volume 2 : Concerto for piano
Volume 2 of the Ravel Édition is dedicated to the composer’s Concerto for piano. This revised 2019 edition was created upon the request of conductor Louis Langrée and the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées as part of their Ravel project with pianists Bertrand Chamayou and David Kadouch.
It was commissioned by the Orchestre national d'Auvergne, the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, the Orchestre philharmonique de Monte Carlo and the Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse.
Reading committee: Cédric Tiberghien (pianist), Benjamin Attahir (composer) and conductors Louis Langrée, Ludovic Morlot, Adrien Perruchon and Pascal Rophé.
- One 24.5x34 cm volume, comprising 272 pages. Square back stitched, printed on premium 120 gsm ivory paper.
- A wealth of images: the majority of photographs are originals from the Fonds Marguerite Long, in addition to facsimile reproductions of pages from the orchestral manuscript and of the proof of the reduction for two pianos, plus the first prints of several parts (previously belonging to Piero Coppola, Charles Münch, etc.)
- 154 pages worth of parts and scores.
- "The Enchanting Fakir’s Last Great Feat": a general introductory text on the history of the composer’s piano concerto by François Porcile, as well as the author’s own reception the work (2019).
- "A Composer’s Intent, A True Rendering": text by Claire-Marie Le Guay and Louis Langrée, written especially for the Ravel Edition project (2019).
- Review written by H. Prunières following the première of the work, Response from M. Ravel and Postlude from M. Long (1932).
- Reviews by the French press following the work’s première performance (1932).
- A revised score of the composer’s Piano Concerto based on the full orchestral manuscript, Marguerite Long’s own scores, the rough drafts and proofs of the reduction for two pianos, and various parts owned by Ravel’s contemporaries.
- The composer’s Reduction for Two Pianos with the performance markings added by Maurice Ravel and Marguerite Long (new 2019 reduction of the Piano 2 part by Jean-Pascal Beintus).
- A Critical Apparatus (40 pages), presenting all the documentation used to produce this 2019 edition.
- Corrections and Notes (23 pages), identifying the various editorial issues encountered, as well as the omissions and errors found in the initial editions of the work.
- Bilingual publication (French-English).
Ravel Edition Volume 3 : Picture at an exhibition
The original idea of producing a revised 2019 edition was proposed by François-Xavier Roth as part of his Ravel cycle with Les Siècles at the Philharmonie de Paris.
Reading committe : François-Xavier Roth, Adrien Perruchon, Pascal Rophé (conductors), Benjamin Attahir (composer) and musicians from Les Siècles.
Whilst we are familiar with the events surrounding Ravel’s full orchestration of Modest Moussorgsky’s 10 Pieces for Piano (1874), commissioned in 1922 by Russian-born conductor Serge Koussevitzky (the orchestration produced by Mikhail Tushmalov in 1981, based on Rimsky-Korsakov’s version of the piano part, being incomplete), and with the work’s première performance at the Opéra de Paris as part of the Concerts Koussevitzky concert series on the 19th of October 1922, the “editorial” history behind this dazzling and highly imaginative orchestration remains largely unknown and somewhat neglected.
It was only in 1929 that the score and orchestral parts were engraved and published by Édition russe de Musique, Koussevitzky’s own publishing house. Up until this point, the orchestral score and individual instrumental parts remained in manuscript form. Ravel’s own manuscript, which is marked as having been completed in May 1922, bears the conductor’s markings in blue pencil and various corrections added over the many years before the work was first engraved and subsequently first recorded in Boston in October 1930. Over the 98 handwritten pages, several modifications to the instrumentation, corrections to engraving errors, dynamic markings, phrasing and even changes to the narrative structure were added by the Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and by the French composer himself.
In light of the various editorial changes made to the score following the sale of Édition russe de Musique, it seemed logical to refer back to this initial 1929 edition, reflecting on the material that was available to Ravel when he produced his orchestration.
We therefore finalised our revised 2019 edition in line with the 1922 orchestral manuscript, Moussorgsky’s 1874 manuscript, S. Koussevitzky’s initial parts, Gabriel Pierné’s 1929 score (original version published by Édition russe de Musique) and the various editions of Rimsky-Korsakov’s work for piano (Bessel, Peters, etc.) available during the 1920s.
This new edition was commissioned by the Fondation Maurice Ravel, Les Siècles, Gürzenich Orchester Köln and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
It has been recorded by Les Siècles and François-Xavier Roth as part of their Maurice Ravel project for Harmonia Mundi. This recording was awarded by the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (August 2020). Text written by François Dru – October 2019 – Any reproduction, in part or in whole, is prohibited without prior authorisation from the editor.
Volume 4 : Concerto for the Left Hand
Volume 4 of the Ravel Édition is dedicated to the composer’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand. This revised 2020 edition was created upon the request of conductor Louis Langrée and the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées as part of their Ravel project with pianists Bertrand Chamayou and David Kadouch.
It was commissioned by the Fondation Maurice Ravel, the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, the Orchestre national des Pays de la Loire and the Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse.
Reading committee : Bertrand Chamayou (pianist), Benjamin Attahir et George Benjamin (composers), Louis Langrée, Ludovic Morlot et Pascal Rophé (conductors).
It was in June 1937 that French music publisher Durand submitted the first engraving of the score and parts of Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand (or “Piano Concerto for Single Left Hand” according to the poetic pleonasm left by the composer on his orchestral manuscript) for legal deposit. However, it is the year 1930 that appears in the composer’s own handwriting on the part carefully preserved by the Morgan Library in New York, as well as on his Reduction for Two Pianos (A. Taverne private collection). As well as watching a tumultuous first performance of his work in 1932 in Vienna, Ravel spent an incredible seven years – until just a few months before his death – waiting for it to be published. The composer was, at that time, suffering from an incurable neurological illness. In the words of Colette, he “had already bid farewell to this earth and was living on another planet”, suffering “the worst imaginable time of mental darkness”: a clinical observation that would suggest that the composer played no or very little part in the first official engraving and printing of his masterpiece.
The events surrounding the première performance given on 5 January 1932 in Vienna by the work’s commissioner Paul Wittgenstein far exceeded the trivial recounts presented in the papers, relaying Ravel’s fury upon discovering all the modifications intentionally added to the score, in addition to several wrong notes, by the one-armed pianist without the composer’s permission. Critics described the two enraged men, neglecting to specify that they went on to meet again, at least once, in Paris at the work’s French première on 17 January 1933 at the Salle Pleyel. During this performance, Ravel conducted the Orchestre Symphonique de Paris, previously rehearsed by Roger Désormière. A key date in the historiography of the work, which is curiously omitted even by highly prestigious musicological publications, in favour of the 1937 concert performed by Alfred Cortot and conducted by Charles Münch, debuting the then recently published Durand score.
So, the burning question is: which parts was the premiere performed off ? Very few people are aware that Wittgenstein and his Viennese agent Georg Kugel had an orchestral score and parts unofficially engraved at their own expense. These parts were never deposited as Ravel had signed an exclusivity agreement with Durand in 1929, however travelled from orchestra to orchestra for several years, before Durand’s initial engraving and the expiration of Wittgenstein’s exclusive rights. A few copies of this 87-page score “als Manuskript gedruckt” and its red cover in octavo format have survived: one at the British Library and of course the treasured copy annotated by Roger Désormière, now kept in Paris at the Musée de la Musique (Philharmonie de Paris).
A study of this initial score, printed from an engraving produced by a German copyist (there are various Gothic characters and a strange mix of French and German abbreviations) and piously preserved by Désormière, reveals useful indications of corrections to wrong notes and other modifications to accents and phrasing. A 1930 proof, according to Arbie Orensteins dating, corrected by the composer alongside his loyal Lucien Garban, also provides invaluable insights into the original musical text.
The legacy of the Ravel collection is not limited to the countless press articles recounting the performance: a somewhat touching one minute and fifty seconds of images of the 1933 Parisian première, set to the music of a rehearsal filmed in the Salle Pleyel of the composer's Piano Concerto for "Single Left Hand" (according to the intertitle), for “Actualités Pathé”, is also still intact. This valuable resource reveals a series of strange modifications added to the piano part by the performer (confirmed by the radio recording of the 1936 Amsterdam concert performed under the baton of Bruno Walter), as well as an indication of the size and set-up of the orchestra, which, during that rehearsal, was conducted by Désormière. Ravel only took to the conductor’s podium for the concert “with the composure that was customary for him when befallen with the baton”, according to critic Alfred Bruneau. Text written by François Dru – July 2020 – Any reproduction, in part or in whole, is prohibited without prior authorisation from the editor.
Volume 5 : Tzigane - Rapsodie de concert
Version for violin and piano/violin and orchestra (1924)
This new revised edition (Ravel Edition Volume 5) was created upon the request of violinist Renaud Capuçon
The revised edition for violin and orchestra will be performed on 8 November 2020 by Renaud Capuçon and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, conducted by Fabien Gabel
Proposing a revised edition of the two versions of Ravel’s Tzigane – Rapsodie de concert could have presented an enormous challenge, not least because in the handwritten orchestral score that the composer himself compiled in July 1924, currently kept at the Morgan Library in New York, the long introductory cadenza (marked as Quasi Cadenza) that takes up practically half of the work, is written in a single bar preceding the orchestra’s first entry. Furthermore, if we compare the solo part of this original score with the first edition for violin and piano published by Durand in August 1924, it is clear that the composer either made several copying errors or indeed changed numerous markings in terms of harmonics and phrasing when orchestrating the work two months after the violin and piano première: could it be more than a coincidence that Ravel made these modifications following the initial performances of the piano version given in London and Paris by Jelly d’Arányi and Samuel Dushkin? We knew that there was an inaccessible score of around fifteen pages kept in the A. Taverne private collection, however it was thanks to the recent communication of another full score for violin and piano (which includes the optional luthéal attachment), carefully preserved in the Archives du Palais de Monaco, that we were able to seriously consider presenting this new edition.
Signed by the composer and dated April-May 1924, alongside the marking “Paris Londres”, this invaluable resource introduces a complete cadenza, a close study of which reveals substantial modifications to the part, above all in the initial phrases, in which the rhythmic patterns are even more reminiscent of those found in Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 by Franz Liszt. Although we didn’t find any direct markings from the dedicatee herself on this score, we do know that she indeed provided Ravel with guidance in his solo violin writing for this undeniably bohemian-esque csárdás, in many ways closely resembling the virtuosic ‘pièces de genre’ admired by by music salons at the end of the 19th Century. Regrettably, Jelly d’Arányi did not leave us with any recordings of this bravura piece, from which we may well have been able to grasp a sense of her “improvised” or ornamented style, as opposed to a strict reading of the composer’s text. However, the very first recordings of the piano version, including the one of the performance given in front of Ravel himself by Lucien Schwartz, violinist from the Orchestre Pasdeloup, which was published in January 1930 for Gramophone, have provided us with some assistance in finding answers to numerous editorial questions. François Dru – September 2020 (any reproduction, in part or in whole, is prohibited without prior authorisation from the editor).
The version for violin and piano will be available for purchase at the beginning of 2021. The book containing the critical apparatus will be published at a later stage.