Rhinegold Photo credit: Durand / United States Library of Congress
Maurice Ravel in 1912

Josephine Miles

Complete Ravel piano works available in new practical editions

8:32, 21st June 2019

The complete piano works of Maurice Ravel are now available in new ‘practical’ editions by British pianist Ray Alston

Alston, who studied with leading Ravel interpreter Vlado Perlemuter, has released his edition of Ravel’s La Valse on Piano Practical Editions (PPE) to complete his adaptations of Ravel’s piano works.

PPE was launched by Alston over 20 years ago to create new editions of advanced piano works with a refreshed layout and solutions to musical and technical problems. Since 2017, Alston has published editions of Ravel – as well as piano works by Albéniz and Debussy – on the PPE site. All scores are available to download for free.

Changes from existing scores include:

  • The use of differently sized noteheads
  • The redistribution of hand positioning
  • Some modification of key and time signatures
  • Suggestions for use of the sostenuto pedal
  • Amendments to stave layout
  • Amendments to page layout for improved page turns

Designed to be used in conjunction with traditional scores, Alston sees his editions as ‘practical and innovative’ rehearsal scores which try to eliminate textual inaccuracies. Despite making alterations to the composer’s written notation, Alston always aims to adhere to the ‘spirit of the composer’s original intentions’.

He says: ‘My editions are not intellectual, and do not follow urtext or other editions precisely, but are rather fresh interpretations based on personal analysis and experience, getting into the skin of a composer through his works and relying on intuition rather than adhesion to tradition.’

Murray McLachlan, head of keyboard at Chetham’s School of Music, commented: ‘What I see in Piano Practical Editions is terrific innovation – even if inevitably the ideas will not suit everyone. Alston’s scores are fascinating, and it is wonderful that he has made them available for free.’

Ray Alston’s editions of Ravel, Albéniz and Debussy are available at Piano Practical Editions

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