The idea of publishing, performing and recording piano transcriptions is not novel in that this has been an important historical practice by composers and publishers, made popular in performance by artists such as Liszt and Busoni. Reductions of operas, symphonies, and other large works for solo piano or one piano-four hands were customarily done so that a wider public would be exposed to music that otherwise might not have been heard or available in any other context. Concert halls and opera houses were not necessarily or readily accessible. Also, mass media sound reproduction did not yet exist in the 19th Century and it was some time before it was made available and affordable to the general public in the 20th Century. Ravel himself approved transcriptions of his orchestral and chamber works, done at the request of his publisher, Durand. These transcriptions were usually done by Lucien Garban, Jacques Charlot and Roger Branga (who might have been Garban; note the anagram of the name). The idea of performing and recording all three on a solo piano disc UisU novel in that these three works have not been performed or recorded together in that mode. "Ma Mere L'Oye" and "Daphnis and Chloé Suite No. 2," rarely performed and even more rarely recorded by solo pianists, are rich in pianistic challenges, virtuosity and absolutely ravishingly beauty, sometimes in the most simple of phrases. Together, these three ballets form both musical and historical juxtapositions of Ravel's life and compositions during the same time period in his life. "Ma Mere L'Oye" was originally a 5-movement suite for 4-hands written for Mimi and Jean Godebski, although they did not give the premiere performance as they were 6 and 7 years old at the time. "Between 1906 and 1908 we used to have long holidays at my parents' house in the country, La Grangette at Valvins. It was there that Ravel finished, or at least brought us, Ma Mère l'Oye. But neither my brother nor I was of an age to appreciate such a dedication and we regarded it rather as something entailing hard work. Ravel wanted us to give the first public performance but the idea filled me with a cold terror. My brother, being less timid and more gifted on the piano, coped quite well. But despite lessons from Ravel I used to freeze to such an extent that the idea had to be abandoned." (Mimie Godebska Blacque-Belair, 1938) The actual premiere was performed by Jeanne Leleu and Geneviève Durony. "He (Ravel) wanted the Petit Poucet to be very uniform in sonority. I used to wait impatiently for the cuckoo to enter! It was great fun to play the cuckoo! (Jeanne Leleu to Hélène Jourdan-Morhange in Ravel According to Ravel) Jacques Charlot transcribed this version to solo piano in 1910. It was commissioned as a ballet in 1911 and premiered as such fully orchestrated with the addition of a Prélude, an additional movement entitled, "Danse du rouet" and connecting music in 1912. It is not clear whether Ravel or Charlot wrote the additional movements for piano solo. "Ma Mere L'Oye," juvenile piano-duets, dates from 1908. The idea of conjuring up the poetry of childhood in these pieces has naturally led me to simplify my style and clarify my writing. I have made a ballet of the work which has been put on at the Théâtre des Arts." "Daphnis and Chloé" was commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev for the Ballets Russes in 1909, although it was 1912 before it would be performed for the first time. The principals involved in it's creation in addition to Diaghilev and Ravel were Michel Fokine, the choreographer; Léon Bakst, the designer; Pierre Monteux, the conductor; and Nijinsky and Karsavina, the dancers. Ravel completed his first version of the score for piano by 1910; however, the birth of this piece was fraught with difficulties, not the least of which was the continual fighting between Fokine and Nijinsky which almost caused Diaghilev to cancel the project. Ravel also had difficulty completing the final dance entitled "Danse générale", which took a full year in the end to finish. At first Ravel had composed it in 3/4 meter, but rethought it. Once he had delivered it, the dancers had difficulty with it's 5/4 meter. They solved this dilemma by using the syllables, "Ser-gei'Di-a-ghi-lev." After seeing it's premiere, Jean Cocteau stated, "Daphnis et Chloé is one of the creations which fell into our hearts like a comet coming from a planet, the laws of which will remain to us forever mysterious and forbidden. Stravinsky called it "not only Ravel's best work, but also one of the most beautiful products of all French music." Suites No. 1 and 2 for orchestra are derived from the full ballet and are often performed separately. Of the three, only "Valses nobles et sentimentales" was originally composed for solo piano and is regularly performed and recorded as such, although it was booed at it's premiere. It was inspired by Franz Schubert's earlier work in the same genre. As Ravel himself said, 'The title sufficiently indicates my intention to compose a succession of waltzes, after Schubert's example.' Louis Albert, to whom this suite was dedicated, gave the first performance of this work in 1911; it was subsequently orchestrated and received it's premiere as a ballet in 1912 under the name Adélaïde ou le langage des fleurs (Adelaide: The Language of Flowers). Allison Brewster Franzetti.