In and Out of Context
While rehearsing the first movement of Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin, the conductor isolated an inner line in the strings. Underneath the melodic exuberance of the violins, the violas and cellos play a descending chromatic line: searching, nostalgic, almost mournful. It reminded me that each of the movements in Ravel's suite is dedicated a friend killed in the First World War. This work is not sombre, but stashed away amidst the sparkling exterior, are clues to other truths.