Song for voice and piano (or piano luthéal), written and published in 1927 to a text by Ravel's friend Léon-Paul Fargue. Ravel was responding to an invitation from the editor of the journal Feuilles libres to be one of several contributors to a volume in tribute to Fargue. Ravel selected a short poem which Fargue probably wrote about 25 years earlier, around the time when he and Ravel became acquainted as members of "les Apaches". The poem evokes a stream of images and sounds which are recalled as though in a dream.
The first performance was given at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier in Paris on 19 March 1927 by Jane Bathori, accompanied by Ravel. Léon-Paul Fargue was among the audience.
(The genesis of Ravel's composition is described in an article by Manuel Cornejo: "À propos de la mélodie Rêves inspirée par Léon-Paul Fargue et à lui dédiée - Deux lettres inédites de Maurice Ravel à Marcel Raval", in Ludions, no.14 (2014) pp.130-140. An analysis of the structure of the song appears in an article by Peter Kaminsky: "Of children, princesses, dreams, and isomorphisms: text-music transformation in Ravel's vocal works", in Music Analysis, vol.19, no.1 (2000) pp.29-68 (pp.42-50). See also Kaminsky: "Composers' words, theorists' analyses, Ravel's music (Sometimes the twain shall meet)", in College Music Symposium, vol.43 (2003) pp.161-177 (pp.173-176.)