In teaching Ravel’s ‘Le Tombeau de Couperin’, I am curious if teachers reading this post instruct their students to search online for information about the dedicatees of each movement of the suite. I was playing ‘Forlane’ for one student and realized halfway through that it reminded me of a boat chant, perhaps–and in searching for the translation of ‘tombeau’, I was directed during my student’s lesson to a site describing the piece. We looked up Gabriel Deluc, the dedicatee of the ‘Forlane’, as I was not familiar with his name. Deluc was a famous painter–one painting he titled, ‘Le lac’– who was trained as a nurse and died in World War I, as did all the dedicatees of each movement. His paintings were hanging in Ravel’s home which he owned after the war. I instructed my student to search each name online for each movement’s dedicatee and see what he learns–I think it will have a deeper effect on him and draw him closer to the work and the composer. He could certainly do a wonderful lecture recital on this–although, perhaps it’s been done many times and I am finding this for the first time.

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