This was one of Ravel's earliest piano works, written around 1892-93, and dedicated to his friend and fellow-student Ricardo Viñes. Viñes seems to have given a first performance of the piece in April 1901 (Marnat , p.725), but the work was then neglected until the composer's centenary in 1975, when it was published and performed again.
The composer remarked: "L'influence d'Emmanuel Chabrier était visible dans la Sérénade grotesque pour piano." ( Ravel ).
The autograph score carries only the title "Sérénade", and it has the initial marking "très rude". It is an unexpectedly modern-sounding piece, and in the space of its 3 or 4 minutes, it encompasses dissonant declamation and lyrical expansiveness, together with some jazz-like syncopated rhythms.