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About this Piece

Ravel originally wrote Ma mère l’oye (Mother Goose) in 1908 as a five-movement suite of pieces for piano four-hands, for the young children of two close friends. In 1911 he orchestrated the suite for use as a ballet, expanding it with the addition of a prelude, four interludes, and a Spinning Wheel Dance and Scene, which sets up the framing Sleeping Beauty story line. (Not all of the characters and scenes come from Charles Perrault’s classic tales.)

In 1999, the distinguished Los Angeles violist Roland Kato completed the present transcription for the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music. “My sources of reference for this transcription were Ravel’s own versions for piano four hands and the orchestral suite, and also a version transcribed by Jacques Charlot for piano two hands,” Kato wrote. “Tempo markings are Ravel’s and like any piece of music are suggestions. I have tried to remain within Ravel’s aesthetic and have kept the arrangement simple so the various musical lines clearly come to the fore.”

— John Henken