Skip to page content


Listen to audio:

Composed: 1924

Length: c. 9 minutes

Orchestration: 2 flutes (2nd=piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, trumpet, percussion (crash cymbals, orchestra bells, suspended cymbals, triangle), harp, celesta, strings, and solo violin

First Los Angeles Philharmonic performance: April 7, 1932, Artur Rodziński conducting, with Paul Kochanski, soloist

About this Piece

Several foreign lands received the brushstrokes of Ravel’s pictorialism and Gallic wit: Spain—Rapsodie espagnole; Vienna—La valse; and Hungary—Tzigane. The latter work, written in 1924 and dedicated to the violinist Jelly d’Arányi, who gave its first performances, was described by the composer as “a virtuoso piece in the style of a Hungarian Rhapsody.” Clearly, Ravel’s simple description is adequate for the musical situation.

The Frenchman’s Tzigane is all fiery temperament, from the extended solo cadenza with which the piece opens to the breathless closing. And if this performer doesn’t make his violin cry, he makes it dazzle by using nearly every technical trick in the book.

—John Henken