This is “MY” Pavane! I had that record. (I lost almost all my music after I left the States in 1996, my entire record collection.)

It’s my favorite rendition of this pavane, and it’s my favorite pavane. Some orchestras’ performances become too pretentious and lose part of the connection to the music. (There is such a thing as being too perfect, yes. Too tight, perhaps. Or a slightly different mood or tempo.) This one does not lose the connection. It’s a wonderful interpretation, this version. But, yes, such things are personal.

(You can actually hear something fall in the orchestra during the performance, on the record. It’s not necessarily included in this upload.)

I’d been looking for it for a long time, uploaded a file I still had, with very bad sound quality, to YouTube some years ago to see if anyone could help me ID it.

At the start of the pandemic, the record company itself finally uploaded this. On 5 March 2020.

This new performance below is very beautiful too! Wonderful! (Very beautifully filmed as well.)

This French version below delights me less, even though it’s beautiful, carried out like one long last breath, as a comment says. “Stasevska conducts the Pavanne as one long, continuous line – a single breath singing, with the ebb and flow of the feeling of loss in the sound. Amazing conducting – this piece expresses the gentle heart of true melancholy, something extremely rare in modern Western culture. Bravo to Ravel and Brava Stasevska.”

But I am missing something in it. I can’t say what it is. The mourning, perhaps? The grief? Yeah, it’s too lighthearted, too light-footed. Too dainty. Too refined, too elegant.

See? It’s so personal. I grew up with close family members dying around me – my mother, her sister and her brother – when I was a teenager. So it is likely that this piece has to connect to that personal experience in me, somehow, to strike the right note for me whereas people who are still strangers to death may want something very different from this piece.

The other versions have the comforting quality too, but they also have the pain.

(Would have loved to have a new favorite conducted by a woman.)

I first heard this Pavane on Dutch radio late at night. I don’t remember if I was still in my teens or in my early twenties. Early twenties, I think. I ran into this record later.

When I was still in high school, our local Edah supermarket had records and I would always go through them to see what gems I could find. I am pretty sure that it’s where I found the first record I bought, because it had Edvard Grieg’s Morgenstimmung on it. Our music teacher, Jeff Somers, had played it at school, in our music class and I loved it. The other side had Cappricio Italien and other work on it.

Wikipedia says “Morning Mood” is part of Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt, Op. 23, written in 1875 as incidental music to Henrik Ibsen’s play of the same name, and was also included as the first of four movements in Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46.”

Somers also conducted Bach’s Matthäus Passion, which is how I got into that. Hilariously, Somers called all students “Eulalia”. Yes, there were only girls for my first three years in high school. In my primary school, too. The head of my primary school was a music teacher; I was in his choir too. I think it was this latter guy who explained how Smetana’s Die Moldau was put together, and made us write down those variations on what was a children’s song when I grew up but was an 18th-century folk/popular song. You can see the river flow and babble when you listen to that piece (Die Moldau), just like you can see the sun come up when you listen to Grieg’s Morgenstimmung.

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