Maurice Ravel called his new piece a morceau de virtuosité dans le goût d’une rhapsodie hongroise (“a small virtuosic piece in the style of a Hungarian Rhapsody”); his violinist friend Hélène Jourdan-Morhange more pithily declared it a Forêt d’embûches (“forest of pitfalls”) pour les violonistes.
Ravel’s Hungarian fever broke out in 1922, when he heard the Hungarian virtuoso Jelly d’Aranyi perform Béla Bartók‘s Sonata no.1, with Bartók himself at the piano. Thus inspired, Ravel decided to write a Hungarian-flavored showpiece for d’Aranyi. The result? The technically-challenging Tzigane, which the young violinist, incorporating as many technical challenges as he could devise. Ravel finished the piece just days before d’Aryani premiered it in London in 1924.
Check out this fresh journey through Ravel’s “forest of pitfalls,” expertly navigated by 19-year old Heifetz 2017 student Yaegy Park, and pianist Beilin Han!