premiered by Angie Schmitt/Jenna Michael/Kevin Flynn @ GVSU Student Recital Hour, April 1, 2016
Like Ravel to the Blues is a piano trio harmonically based in the polytonality of Ravel’s Second Violin Sonata…particularly the second movement, titled “Blues”. Modern theoretical research explores the plausibility and functionality of polytonality, which is still widely debated. It seems that each composer who writes with polytonality uses it differently than the next. Ravel (literally) writes the violin part in GM, and the piano in AbM, but much of the melodies function in both keys, although the functional relationships are very ‘out’ at times (11ths, 13ths, etc.–intervals appropriate for jazz). Peter Kaminsky wrote an excellent article on the topic, “Ravel’s Late Music and the Problem of ‘Polytonality,'” available in Theory Spectrum and from Jstor here.
The melodies of this work were taken from a different, very tonal project–mock television commercials based on real eTrade ads.