Home > Orchestra + solo > RAVEL - STARR; Trois beaux oiseux du Paradis, for flute and string orchestra

RAVEL - STARR; Trois beaux oiseux du Paradis, for flute and string orchestra

Maurice Ravel
Year of composition
Maurice Ravel
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
2 minutes
Classical music
Orchestra + solo (Flute)
Instrumental parts
Not available

This transcription for flute and string orchestra is an arrangement of a little-known chanson that Ravel composed for mixed chorus, a cappella. It is one of the most moving moments in all of music.

Ravel wrote the words for the song, as well as the music. In his poem, a young girl describes three birds-of-paradise.

The first is blue - more blue than the sky.

The second is white - the color of snow.

The third is red - a shade of crimson (the color of blood.)

Ravel wrote the poem and the music in 1914, the first year of what is still referred to in France as The Great War. Civilization was crumbling around Ravel, and the very existence of his homeland was threatened. Of course, the three birds-of-paradise represent France.

The song is strophic, in three refrains and a short coda. Each refrain represents a bird-of-paradise; and in the coda, the young girl is told: ’Your beloved has gone off to war.’

This is the saddest music I know.

A reduction for flute and piano of my orchestral score (with a detached flute part) is also available on www.sibeliusmusic.com

You can peruse the orchestral score with SCORCH while listening to it played with basic MIDI sounds. But the essence of my transcription is the sonority of the solo flute in its low register, and the sound of muted strings. I have attached an MP3 recording made with enhanced musical sounds, which you can hear by clicking on the button marked PLAY MP3. I hope you will listen to this MP3 file, well. If you wish, you can download the MP3 demo recording for repeated listening.

I also hope listeners will express their opinions about Ravel’s Trois beaux oiseaux du Paradise, and my transcription of the chanson for flute solo and muted string orchestra �" either in an online review, or in an email to me (just click the button marked EMAIL THE PUBLISHER.) I am always interested to read listeners’ comments about my compositions and orchestrations.

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This score was submitted by Mark Starr. If you wish to perform, record, or broadcast this music then you should contact them first.

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