#Classical365: 14 – Ravel Piano Trio No.1 in A minor

The first piece of French music I’ve listened in this year-long listening project. A great suggestion from @brizzlemuso who had was surprised I hadn’t thought to listen to any Ravel before now.

Truth is, Ravel hadn’t even crossed my mind. I can think of only two works Ravel – Bolero and La Valse. Not a judgment on Ravel’s output. Now I come to think of it I think I’ve always perceived Ravel’s music as too ‘thin’. Flimsy. Glossy. Not lacking substance, just too much implied.

The first piano trio hits the spot when I’m on the train home this evening. Now that Charing Cross trains aren’t stopping at London Bridge, the journey home is good deal faster. Just the right amount of time to listen to the entire work and completely unwind as a result. Home isn’t as far away anymore.

The first movement snaps me out of now and into an empty cathedral-like space. I’m alone. I’m free to wander around. There’s ample time to satisfy my curiosity. A lilting start with a slow moving melody played in the high registers of the violin, underpinned by the cello playing in its mid-range: an interval split across multiple octaves. Mesmerising. Can’t remember much about the second movement but the third is undoubtedly the best for me: a passacaglia that harks back to another civilisation, particularly marked in the opening and closing slow sections. The finale is typically Ravel: dazzling but not ostentatious.

I was listening to Ravel’s Piano Trio No.1 in A minor played by the Beaux Arts Trio on Spotify

If you’ve got a suggestion for a work for me to listen to, leave a comment below or tweet me@thoroughlygood

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