Introduction and Allegro for harp, flute, clarinet,
and string quartet. Maurice Ravel (1905).
Janice Ortega, Harp, accompanied by Music Faculty of California State University East Bay. Roberta Brokaw, flute. William Wohlmacher, clarinet. Allan Gove, cello. Nathan (Nate) Rubin, violin. Eric Hanson, violin. Joffria Whitfield, viola.
About the composer, Maurice Ravel
Maurice Ravel (1875 – 1937) was a French composer, pianist, and conductor. In the 1920's and 1930's Ravel was internationally regarded as France's greatest living composer.
Ravel was commissioned "to write a piece to display the expressive range of its double-action pedal harp" by the harp manufacturer, the Érard company. This was a response to the Pleyel company, their competitor, who commissioned Claude Debussy in 1904 to compose a work for harp and orchestra to showcase their new chromatic harp. Ravel completed his Introduction and Allegro for a septet of harp, flute, clarinet and string quartet in June 1905.
It is written in the key of G-flat major and it is the first piece to explore and exploit the full resources of the solo harp. The Introduction and the Allegro are played without a break. The Introduction, Très lent, takes only 26 bars. The Allegro in a modified sonata form begins with the solo harp expanding the material presented in the Introduction.