Émile Ratez

Émile Ratez (1851-1934)

Nationality: French
Born: November 5, 1851, Besançon Died: May 19, 1934, Lille (age 82)

12 Pièces pittoresques, Op. 8

(for violin and piano)
I. Romance
II. Doux Souvenir
III. Mélancolie
IV. Canon
V. Le cœur du Poète
VI. Danse Tudesque
VII. A l'Aube
VIII. Chevaulchée
IX. Tristesse
X. Joyeux Retour
XI. Scherzo
XII. Adieu
Published: 1886, Paris: Alphonse Leduc (age 34-35)
Dedication: Amédée de Beaujeu
From Edition Silvertrust

Émile Ratez Émile Ratez (1851-1934) was born in the French city Besançon. He studied viola and composition at the Paris Conservatory, the latter with Jules Massenet. He enjoyed a career as a composer and teacher and served as the director of the Lille branch of the Paris Conservatory for several decades. He composed in most genres and chamber music features prominently amongst his oeuvre and includes several piano trios, a string quartet, a string trio and several works for viola.

His 12 Pièces Pittoresques (picturesque pieces) for Viola and Piano dates from 1886. They were published for both the viola and the violin and it cannot be said that they were intended for one and not the other. They are character pieces, a form which was quite popular during the last part of the 19th century. Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition are perhaps the standard bearer of the genre, certainly the most famous. Each of Ratez's pieces is given a name which conjures up the mood of the music. In order, they are Romance, Doux Souvenir, Melancolie, Canon, Le coeur de Poete, Danse Tudesque, A l'Aube, Chevaulchee, Tristesse, Joyeux Retour. Scherzo, and Adieu!

Superbly done, each piece is highly evocative and makes a fine encore. And, of course, they can be played together and can take the place of a full length sonata. We warmly recommend them to violists everywhere as a choice for the recital hall.

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