During World War I, French composer Maurice Ravel (1875–1937) wrote a six-movement suite for solo piano titled Le tombeau de Couperin. A “tombeau” (“tomb” in French) is a musical tribute to someone who has passed away. The musical world was deeply affected by the conflict, as composers and musicians were among those serving in the military. Orchestras lost members, and many composers shifted focus from large-scale works to smaller, sparser pieces. Ravel, who worked as an ambulance driver in the war (he was nearly 40 when the conflict began), was profoundly changed by the experience, and he wrote a piece to commemorate some of the lives affected by the war. Although a tombeau was most often written for one person, Ravel dedicated the individual movements to his contemporaries. Ravel orchestrated four of the six movements in 1919, and the piece received its premiere the following year.
In this woodwind-heavy work, Le tombeau de Couperin highlights our virtuosic wind section and notably features Claire Brazeau, LACO’s principal oboe. Claire holds an Artist Diploma from the Colburn School and studied under the tutelage of LACO’s former principal oboe Allan Vogel. Claire loves connecting with audiences on social media platforms and actively curates her Instagram page (@oboejones) with concert clips, upcoming performance information, and pictures.
In LACO History
Prior to this most recent performance, Le tombeau de Couperin had been played five times, the last performance dating back to 2011 under the baton of LACO’s fifth Music Director and Conductor Laureate, Jeffrey Kahane.
More about LACO AT HOME
The coronavirus pandemic may prevent us from gathering together to share music in person, but current circumstances will not prevent LACO from providing you with exquisite, enduring, personal musical experiences. We are happy to announce that the musicians of LACO have generously volunteered to share a wide variety of audio and video options during this time. All broadcasts can be live-streamed at laco.org/broadcasts and streamed on-demand at laco.org/on-demand.