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Maurice Ravel

Thaddeus Kozuch would agree, as it has been said, that most of Ravel's piano music is extremely difficult to play, and presents pianists with a balance of technical and artistic challenges.  The works presented here are no exception.
 
Mr. Kozuch was certainly up to these challenges.  Included are studio and recital performances of some of Ravel's most difficult music.

Ravel - Alborada del gracioso (published 1906)

Alborada ... ("Morning Song of the Jester") in D minor, is the fourth movement of Miroirs ("Mirrors"), a five-movement suite for solo piano.  Valley of the Bells (bottom of this page below) is also from the same piano suite.  Alborada is a technically challenging piece that incorporates Spanish musical themes into its complicated melodies. 

Ravel
Alborada

This performance was given at Thaddeus Kozuch's final DePaul University faculty recital in 1979.

Ravel
Habanera

Habanera is a style of Cuban dance music of the 19th century, also popular in Spain. 

For something completely different, Thaddeus Kozuch performed the Ravel Habanera (or the Ravel Prelude) in recitals following an enormous showpiece, or as a tranquil encore. 

VIDEO:  Ravel Habanera (1907)

In this home studio VIDEO of March 26th, 1986 Thaddeus Kozuch gives a subtle and sensitive interpretation.

From the October 3, 1986 concert recital, this is also another beautiful AUDIO recording of the Ravel Habanera. 

This concert was Thaddeus Kozuch's last public performance, given in Grand Rapids Michigan at the St. Cecilia Music Center.

Ravel
Habanera (audio)

In a sense, Mr. Kozuch made a "full circle" return to St. Cecilia with this concert, where he played one of his first formal public performances before his 1940 Chicago debut.

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Ravel - La Valse (1920)

This is Thaddeus Kozuch's 1978 DePaul University Faculty recital performance of La Valse.

Ravel
La Valse

Ravel described La valse with the following preface:  Through whirling clouds, waltzing couples may be faintly distinguished. The clouds gradually scatter. One sees an immense hall peopled with a whirling crowd. The scene is gradually illuminated. The light of the chandeliers bursts forth at the fortissimo. Set in an imperial court, about 1855.

Ravel's Prelude in A minor was composed in 1913 as a gentle student work.

These two 1979 performances were given in recital at Cullen Hall, University of St. Thomas in Houston, then a week later in Thaddeus Kozuch's final DePaul University faculty recital.

Several recordings of the same music are presented, showing differences in musical interpretation over the years ... or when it was just too difficult to pick only one.

Ravel Prelude recordings

For something completely different, Thaddeus Kozuch performed the Ravel Prelude (or the Ravel Habanera) in recitals following an enormous showpiece, or as a tranquil encore. 

Maurice_Ravel_1925.jpg

Ravel - Toccata (1914-17)
from Le Tombeau de Couperin

AUDIO NOTE: Unfortunately, the only recording we have was made by a DePaul University music school student technician who did not know how to manage the volume control.  As such, this exceptional 1969 Thaddeus Kozuch faculty recital performance was captured entirely with too much tape distortion.  We have edited the audio quality as best we can. 

Ravel
Toccata

Ravel - Valley of the Bells (1905)

Valley of the Bells in C♯ minor, is the fifth movement of Miroirs ("Mirrors"), a five-movement suite for solo piano.  Alborada (top of this page above) is also from the same piano suite.  The work evokes the sounds of various bells through its use of sonorous harmonies.

AUDIO NOTE: Unfortunately, the only recording we have was made by a DePaul University music school student technician who did not know how to manage the volume control.  As such, this exceptional 1969 Thaddeus Kozuch faculty recital performance was captured entirely with too much tape distortion.  We have edited the audio quality as best we can. 

Ravel
Valley of the Bells

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