New Video! Maurice Ravel’s Toccata from Le Tombeau de Couperin


This was one of the first pieces we learned as a young reed quintet, and we’re excited to be sharing it once again here in this video in addition to touring it during our 2022 season. Thanks for watching!

Video by Sly Pup Productions
Audio by Dave Schall Acoustic
Filmed at the Russel Industrial Center in Detroit, MI

This rendition of Maurice Ravel’s Toccata from Le Tombeau de Couperin was arranged by Raaf Hekkema of the Calefax Reed Quintet.

Maurice Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, composed between 1914 and 1917, pays homage to the Baroque tradition of François Couperin (1668-1733) and his contemporaries. During those years Ravel joined the French military and dedicated each movement of the piano suite to the memory of a friend who died in World War I.

The final movement, Toccata, was dedicated to Joseph de Marliave, a French musicologist known for his work on Beethoven’s string quartets. Marliave was a captain in the French army and was killed in the first weeks of the war. Despite being written while Ravel witnessed the horrors of war and endured the death of his mother, Le Tombeau de Couperin has been considered a light-hearted, reflective work rather than a somber one. Ravel agreed, observing, “The dead are sad enough, in their eternal silence.”

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