Pavane pour une infante défunte

by Maurice Ravel – arranged for wind orchestra by Robert Lennon

An arrangement for wind orchestra of this tender and poignant little piece which Rave originally composed for piano, in 1899, and later transcribed for small orchestra. The title, which translates as Pavane for a Dead Princess, does not refer to any particular princess nor is the piece intended to be mournful. Ravel who, like his compatriot Debussy, had a fascination with Spanish culture, intended the work to be “an evocation of a pavane that a princess might, in former times, have danced at the Spanish court”.

The pavane is a slow, processional dance which was popular at the courts of Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Listen and follow the score here;

This arrangement, which remains as faithful as possible to Ravel’s original orchestration, always proves popular with concert audiences. It is generally of moderate difficulty although certain instruments, such as the 1st horn, and to a certain extent the 1st oboe, have considerable demands made of them especially with regard to register. Nevertheless, it makes excellent training, in terms of expressive playing as well as in realising its subtle dynamic contrasts – with good balance and accurate intonation, for student or amateur ensembles.

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