Maurice Ravel

Valses (8) nobles et sentimentales, for piano (or orchestra), M. 61

    Description by Meredith Gailey

    Maurice Ravel could be slightly obsessive in the way he allowed certain musical interests to reappear throughout his compositions. Two such interests were dance and the past, and in Valses nobles et sentimentales one can hear how Ravel was able to effectively fuse these two curiosities together. While Le Tombeau de Couperin was inspired by the eighteenth century, the Valses was oriented toward the nineteenth century. Written out of homage to Schubert's piano piece of the same name, the composer declared that the work's title, "indicates clearly enough my intention of composing a chain of waltzes following the example of Schubert. The virtuoso element that was the basis of Gaspard de la nuit is here replaced by a writing of greater clarity, which has the effect of sharpening the harmony as well as the outline of the music." Ravel achieved his goal of clarity, as the waltzes were written using intense precision, sophistication, and technical flawlessness.

    Valses nobles et sentimentales contains eight waltzes presented in the following order: Modéré, Assez lent, Modéré, Assez animé, Presque lent, Assez vif, Moins vif, and the Epilogue. Originally written for solo piano, the waltzes stimulate but do not disturb, while displaying different aspects of Ravel's imagination including pride, tenderness, and sentiment. The work was dedicated to Louis Aubert and it was he who gave the first performance on May 9, 1911, at a concert held by the Société Musicale Indépendante, where Schubert's piece of the same name was also premiered. As a little game, the composers' names were withheld, leaving the audience to guess who had written each piece. Audience suggestions included Eric Satie, Zoltán Kodály, and even a correct answer from Debussy, whose ears could not be fooled by the identifiable quality he appreciated. Even though several of Ravel's friends confessed their dislike, others claimed to be strongly drawn to the piece. Tristan Klingsor commented that he was one among several who, "were immediately seduced by the music, and yet he had taken a lot of risks, at least for the period....He had taken the use of unresolved dissonances to its furthest point. What we now find very piquant was extremely daring at the time. The first bars of the Valses seemed quite extraordinary. Then, since there was nothing there that was not well thought-out, the ear quickly grew to enjoy these pseudo-'wrong notes,' and a glance at the score revealed that they had a proper harmonic justification."

    As with Ma mère l'oye Ravel allowed only himself to alter Valses nobles et sentimentales through orchestration. He adapted the waltzes for the ballet Adélaïde ou Le langage des fleurs, for a performance by the troupe of Natasha Trouhanova, and it was premiered as an orchestral work on April 22, 1912, at the Théâtre du Châtelet. Some say that the ironic overtones of the Valses foreshadow the superb choreographic poem La Valse while confirming to audiences that dissonance was indeed an essential element of his musical style.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Modéré
    2. Assez lent
    3. Modéré
    4. Animé
    5. Presque lent
    6. Assez vif
    7. Moins vif
    8. Epilogue. Lent

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2019 Simax Classics PSC 1366
    2019 Onyx / Onyx Classics ONYX 4194
    2018 ATMA Classique ACD 22757
    2018 SWR Music SWR 19061CD
    2018 Linn Records CKD 610
    2018 Melodiya MELCD 1002526
    2017 Warner Classics 0190295886691
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon 4797477
    2017 SWR Music SWR 19409CD
    2017 Centaur Records CRC 3581/3582
    2017 Warner Classics 0190295775063
    2017 Tacet TACET 227
    2016 Schaaf Records SR 102
    2016 Wigmore Hall Live WHLIVE 0081
    2016 RCA Red Seal 88875169792
    2016 Blue Griffin Recording BG 381
    2016 EPR-Classic EPR 20
    2016 Erato 082564602681
    2016 SWR Music SWR 19004CD
    2016 Naxos 8573286
    2016 Urania WS 1212682
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon B002463002
    2015 Honens 201502CD
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4794350
    2015 Calliope CAL 1521
    2015 PentaTone Classics PTC 5186204
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 002894794261
    2015 Brilliant Classics 94933BR
    2015 Linn / Linn Records BKD 523
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4794647
    2014 Victor Elmaleh Collection VEC 111
    2014 BIS BIS 2049
    2014 Steinway & Sons STNS 30029
    2014 Harmonia Mundi HMX 290871015
    2014 Testament SBT 1497
    2014 Haenssler / Hänssler 933180000000
    2013 ICA Classics ICAC 5095
    2013 Melodiya MELCD 1002063
    2013 Decca / Mercury 4785092
    2013 EMI Classics
    2013 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 9145092
    2013 Warner Classics
    2013 Piano Classics PCLD 0055
    2013 Naxos 8572888
    2013 Naxos NBD 0034
    2013 Decca 4785093
    2012 Helicon Classics / Helicon Records HEL 029653
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon 4790333
    2012 Supraphon SU 41192
    2012 Warner Classics 671992
    2012 Fuga Libera FGL 592
    2012 Decca / Deutsche Grammophon / Universal
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon 4790367
    2012 MDG / Zebralution
    2012 Praga DSD 350091
    2012 Warner Classics
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099967831
    2012 Decca 4783725
    2012 Decca
    2011 RCA Red Seal 886919369120
    2011 ZYX 57001
    2011 Toccata Classics TOCC 0139
    2011 BIS 1810
    2011 Champs Hill Records CHRCD 026
    2011 Sound Circus / Warner Classics 2564672037
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 9482092
    2011 Newton Classics 88020682
    2011 Hyperion CDA 67731
    2011 Haenssler 93712
    2011 Harmonia Mundi HMX 290845051
    2010 Doremi Records 7920
    2010 Haenssler 94211
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Documents / Membran 233017
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 50999906820
    2010 Warner Classics
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94083
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099996634
    2010 Decca
    2010 Decca 4102552
    2010 Lyrinx 2233
    2010 Dux Records 558
    2010 Decca
    2010 Warner Classics
    2010 Tutti 3
    2010 APO (Analogue Production Originals) 007
    2010 Documents / Membran 232598
    2010 Sony Classical / Sony Music Distribution 886975887
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926508
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 UT3 Records / Zebralution
    2009 Audite 92571
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2008 RCO Live 08005
    2008 Klavier Records 11016
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 001190702
    2008 Brilliant Classics 9020
    2008 Linn Records 315
    2008 Decca 4685642
    2007 Orfeo 742071
    2007 Arch Media Archives 5186319
    2007 Transart Live 143
    2007 Erato 284668
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099950089
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 46734
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon 4776201
    2006 Decca 4768499
    2006 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243476960
    2006 Analekta 23146
    2005 Andante 2110
    2005 Fleur de Son 57967
    2005 Cascavelle 3075
    2005 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243586061
    2005 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab 4008
    2005 EMI Music Distribution 85078
    2005 Decca 4756891
    2005 Archipel 0248
    2005 MSR Classics MS1130
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 85990
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 585837-2
    2004 Arts Music 43040
    2004 Chandos 10251
    2004 Kleos Classics 5130
    2004 High Definition Classics 024
    2004 Elatus 2564606832
    2004 MDG 6041190
    2003 Chandos 10142
    2003 Brilliant 6430
    2003 Bayer Records 100344/5
    2003 Dal Segno 004
    2003 APR (Appian) 5594
    2003 Scandinavian Classics 220509
    2003 Calliope 3824/5
    2003 Harmonia Mundi 901811/12
    2003 Accord 4760941
    2003 Fabula Classica 29902
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 5 75526-2
    2002 Cascavelle 3048
    2002 Cascavelle 3037
    2002 ASV PLT8517
    2002 Musicians Showcase MS 1070
    2002 Deutsche Grammophon 469354
    2002 Andante AND1978
    2002 Hyperion 67341/2
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 74793
    2002 Channel Classics 17502
    2002 Praga 356020-34
    2001 Ambitus 97966
    2001 Arbiter ARBITER130
    2001 Deutsche Grammophon 469628
    2001 Ensayo 9808
    2001 Tudor Records 777
    2001 Classica d'Oro 3020
    2001 Sony Music Distribution 5033892
    2001 JVC Compact Discs 216
    2001 Lifestyles 315018
    2000 Simax 1112
    2000 Erato 80073
    2000 Chandos 7102
    2000 Stradivarius 10022
    2000 Rca Red Seal 63043
    2000 Amapola 9802
    2000 Parnassus Records 96005/6
    1999 Caprice Records 21594
    1999 Philips 456817
    1999 Philips 462232
    1999 Chandos 9206
    1999 BBC Music 103
    1999 Blue Saphir 1009
    1999 Decca 460214
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 459439
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 449213
    1999 Eclipse Records 64494
    1999 RCA Red Seal 63000
    1998 Classic Records 1025
    1998 Philips 456589
    1998 Erato / Virgin 7243561489
    1998 Sony Classical 63316
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 453576
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 437 667-2GH
    1997 Cambria 1086
    1996 Collins Classics / Collins Records 14042
    1996 Wergo 6014050
    1996 Arbiter 102
    1996 Live Classics 472
    1996 Erato 98479
    1996 Ades 14107
    1996 EMI Classics
    1996 EMI Music Distribution 68610
    1996 Nimbus 7713
    1996 Praga 354001.15
    1995 Madacy 1603
    1995 Seraphim UK 569539
    1995 Deutsche Grammophon 437392
    1995 Naxos 553008
    1995 ZYX Music 4195
    1995 EMI Music Distribution 68576
    1995 VAI Audio 1028
    1995 Praga 254057
    1994 Chandos 7004
    1994 Sony Music Distribution 53528
    1994 Teldec 94539
    1994 Deutsche Grammophon 439342
    1994 Decca / London 440836
    1994 Chandos 9203
    1994 Koss KC1018
    1993 Dynamic 102
    1993 RCA 60985
    1993 Philips 438353
    1993 Arkadia 904
    1992 London 433515
    1992 Harmonia Mundi 190922
    1992 Sony Music Distribution 48163
    1992 Vox 5012
    1992 Philips 434306
    1992 Albany Music Distribution 052
    1992 Chandos 8620
    1992 CRD Records 3383
    1992 Vox 5031
    1992 Vox CDX25507
    1991 Deutsche Grammophon 429 785-2GH
    1991 Naxos 550173
    1991 Astree 7802
    1990 Astree 7800
    1990 Telarc Distribution 80171
    1989 RCA 60179
    1984 London 410 254-2DH
    1984 Hungaroton 12317
    1980 Tahra 1014
    Testament 1236
    Ades 20295
    Denon Records 73804
    Supraphon 111476
    Miro Classical Records
    Encore Recordings 67770
    Multisonic 310091
    GM Recordings 2016
    Adda 581108
    Vox 9015
    Extraplatte 607
    Denon Records 75001
    London 421458
    RCA 61446
    Brilliant 6430/4
    RCA 7729
    Sony Music Distribution 52515
    Virgin 59322
    Preiser Records 90427
    Theorema 121163
    Koch 7702
    Lys 364/365
    RCA Victor 61893
    PCM Records 338025
    EMI Music Distribution 69165
    Excelsior Recordings 31026
    Masters of the Millennium 2029
    Naxos 550173
    EMI Music Distribution 747648
    EXL 4258
    Triton 15
    Deutsche Grammophon 427679
    RCA Victor 61895
    London 410255
    RCA 14815
    Victoria 19081
    Erato 94826
    Calliope 9825
    Erato
    Solstice Records 122
    Deutsche Grammophon 000403002
    Disques Pierre Verany 787022
    Arkadia 23
    Manchester 128
    Elan Recordings 2232
    Denon Records 71799
    Channel Classics 17598
    Virgin Classics 62363
    Divox 25211
    Serge Romanchak
    Opus 3 19701
    Musical Heritage Society 515720
    BBC Music Magazine 239
    RCA 60693
    Rene Gailly 87097