Saxophone Quartet (SATB)
For Ravel, the year 1917 was marked by his dearly beloved Basque mother’s death and the decease of many of his friends who had lost their lives on the battlegrounds of World War I. Hence, the suite he finished in that same year can altogether be considered as a work in reverence for the deceased: Each movement is dedicated to one of his friends killed in action. Its title Tombeau (tomb) had already been used by the Baroque composer F. Couperin for his funeral music. True to the spirit of that ancient music honoring the dead, the composer furthermore adheres consciously to the musical forms and practices of the clavecinist era.
Due to its classical, rather sonatina-like character, the Tombeau does not radiate an atmosphere of mourning - despite it being committed to the memory of the deceased - but a light if cool serenity.
In its order and choice of movements, this arrangement for saxophone quartet observes the orchestral version written by Ravel himself.
The original version for piano includes two additional parts: Fugue and Toccata. Yet, they have been left out in this arrangement (as was also done in the orchestral version) since they do not really conform to the tonal quality of the saxophone quartet.