Ravel's Gaspard De la Nuit

Article excerpt

Maurice Ravel. Gaspard de la nuit: 3 poèmes pour piano après Aloysius Bertrand. Nach der Quellen herausgegeben von Michael Kube. Vorwort von Theo Hirsbrunner. Fingersätze und Hinweise zur Interpretation von Peter Roggenkamp. Vienna: Wiener Urtext Edition, 2011. [Foreword, pref., notes on interpretation in Ger., Eng., Fre., p. v-xix; facsimile, 1 p.; score, p. 2-42; glossary, p. 43; crit. notes in Ger., Eng., p. 44-51. ISBN 385055659X, ISBN-13/EAN 9783850556590, ISMN 9790500572916; pub. no. UT 50261. $21.95.]

Maurice Ravel. Gaspard de la nuit. Herausgegeben von Peter Jost. (Urtext.) Munich: G. Henle, 2010. [Preface in Ger., Eng., Fre., p. iv-viii; score, p. 1-40; commentary in Ger., Eng., p. 42-47; trans. of expression and tempo marks, 1 p. ISBN-13 9790201808437; pub. no. HN 843. $24.95.]

Pianists-those with the technique to handle this work-should take advantage of the availability of not one but two recent critical editions of one of Ravel's major works for piano. Although the original publication (Durand, 1909), now in the public domain, has been reprinted many times and is available for download widely on the Internet, the density of the critical notes in both the Henle and Wiener Urtext editions should warn performers of the many problems in this complex work (in complex notation), which unfortunately were quite common in Durand publications, even in much less complex works. Several other critical or urtext editions have also appeared over the years, the most prominent by the justifiably notable Ravel scholar Roger Nichols (Peters Edition, ED 7378 [1991]), and another by Gaby Casadesus (Schirmer's Library of Musical Classics, vol. 1964 [1990]), the pianist-wife of Robert Casadesus, friends of the composer and performers of his music during his lifetime. All of these editions provide the texts of the three poems that inspired the three movements of the work. Schirmer's Casadesus edition has a very brief introduction (by Casadesus?) and no critical notes, but five footnotes in the score provide some specific performance guidelines and, according to the title page, editorial fingering.

The Peters and Schirmer editions are significant because their editors are as known to the scholarly community as they might well be to knowledgeable pianists with the confident technique to be interested in performing this difficult work. …