Sheet Music

Le jardin englouti (The Sunken Garden)

Alternative title
Preparation for Maurice Ravel
Nicole DiPaolo
Nicole DiPaolo
Scored for
Type of score
For a single performer
E major
Year of composition

The audio is from a Sibelius-generated preview. Quarantines have limited my access to acoustic instruments, but when in-person studio instruction resumes, I'll get a good recording in!

From my forthcoming collection of intermediate and late-intermediate piano compositions in Impressionist styles, this is an homage to Maurice Ravel's piano writing as shown in his minuets (like the middle movement of the Sonatine and the minuet from Le tombeau de Couperin). It means "The Sunken Garden," and I'll explain why below.

It introduces techniques that Ravel frequently uses but that less-than-advanced students rarely encounter in repertoire at their level: sometimes-awkward hand and arm crossings, extended tertian chords (9th/11th/13th voicings), large rolled chords, and some modal writing, to name a few, while still maintaining a clarity of voicing that students will find in Ravel's own music. All of these can be disorienting to students encountering Ravel's music for the first time, so students will benefit from Ravel-preparatory repertoire, like this piece, that introduces these techniques.

Since most currently published collections of Impressionist-style pedagogical repertoire focus on Claude Debussy's language, this piece is a welcome addition to the student piano literature and will help bridge the gaps between standard teaching repertoire and pieces like Ravel's Sonatine, while also exposing students to a new, rich, and inviting tonal language that will inspire them to seek out more of Ravel's compositions.

On a more personal level, this piece was inspired by the Sunken Garden, a former landmark on the Indiana University campus that sat across the street from the practice building in which I taught dozens of piano students, coached numerous singers, and learned piles of repertoire before moving away last year. The Jordan Hall greenhouse now sits on the former Sunken Garden site. You can learn more about it here: https://jhgreenhouse.biology.indiana....

Because the Wells Quad dorms are right next door, I hear this piece as a recollection of a social dance night that the dorms probably held frequently back when the Sunken Garden existed. Wells Quad served as a classroom/academic office complex for years after Jordan Hall was built in the 50s, but they are now back-converting the buildings into dorms again. (As of this writing, two of the buildings now serve as dorms, while the other two are still academic buildings. While I was pursuing my doctoral minor in composition, the composition professors' studios were almost all in Wells Quad's Sycamore Hall. They upgraded to the East Studio Building as soon as they could, though!)

Upload date: 27 May 2020
Sheet music file
2.49 USD
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