Okay, bassoonists, you get some more notes!
The principal bassoonist at the New York Philharmonic got some good news recently: The bassoon part in Maurice Ravel’s “Mother Goose” ballet (“Ma Mère l’Oye”), which will be performed on the orchestra’s program for three consecutive evenings beginning Wednesday (and reprised Jan. 4), just grew by four full measures. “She was tickled pink,” says Arbie Orenstein, the Queens College musicologist who, while examining the work’s original manuscript, came across a musical line that, strangely enough, had never made it into the score that has been performed for the past 100 years.
Ravel originally composed “Mother Goose” in 1910 as a set of duets, for one piano and four hands, for the children of friends. A year later he orchestrated that piano suite for a small orchestra, subsequently expanding that orchestral transcription into a ballet based upon the same children’s stories he’d previously adapted. Ravel, who died in 1937 and is, along with Claude Debussy, considered to be one of the two most important French composers of the first half of the 20th century, once said that he considered “Mother Goose” and his 1912 ballet, “Daphnis and Chloé,” to be his most significant works. (Many associate Ravel with “Boléro,” the one-movement, 15-minute orchestral work that the self-critical composer famously described as a piece consisting wholly of “orchestral tissue without music.”)
I read it here.