Menuet antique

The Menuet antique for piano was written in 1895, and dedicated to Ricardo Viñes, who gave its first public performance at the Salle Érard in Paris on 18 April 1898. Ravel made an orchestration of the piece in 1929, and he conducted its first performance on 11 January 1930. The piano version became his first published work (Enoch, 1898).

Some critics have found a model for the work - and unfavourable comparison - in Chabrier's Menuet pompeux (Jankélévitch [1995] p.20; Orenstein [1991] p.141), a work which Ravel was later (1917/18) to orchestrate for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.

It was the first of several explorations of the minuet form; others were the central movement of the Sonatine, the Menuet sur le nom de Haydn, and the fifth movement of Le Tombeau de Couperin.


It was reported that Ravel made a piano roll recording of the Menuet antique for the Aeolian Duo-Art company while he was in New York in 1928. There is no indication however that this recording was ever released or that it now survives.

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