Ravel and the Scherzo

I know very little about classical music, but I’ve been waking up to BBC 3 (the classical music station here in Britain) for the last week or so. Most of the music on their “Breakfast” program is pretty innocuous, which makes it nice to wake up to, read the paper to, etc. But yesterday my mind was blown open by some recording of a scherzo by Ravel. I’ve never heard Ravel before, and didn’t really know what a scherzo was, but this recording was pretty much amazing. Thanks to the world’s eighth wonder, Spotify, I’ve been listening nonstop to Ravelian scherzos since yesterday. Does anybody know if his other stuff is good? (I’m listening to Bolero now; I enjoy it, but can see why he repudiated it.) Do all scherzo’s rule, or just Ravel’s?

By the way, just because I’ve never listened to Ravel doesn’t mean I’m a total philistine: I’m going to see the new piece by the god of Scottish classical music, James MacMillan, on Friday for Burn’s Night at the Royal Society. Ta.

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