Ravel and Poland

Ravel brought his new Piano concerto in G to Poland early in 1932 (February?) for concerts in Warsaw and Lwów (now Lviv in Ukraine). Marguerite Long, his soloist, recalled that relations between Poland and France were rather cool at the time, and Prime Minister Beck did not conceal his hostility, staying away from the Warsaw concert. Beck did however invite Ravel and Mme Long to lunch, and was considerably offended when they did not appear, because Ravel had forgotten about it and had neglected to mention it to his colleague. Ravel and the French ambassador went to make their apologies but these were not accepted, and by the next day the press had got hold of the story and interpreted it as a politically-motivated insult. Ravel remained phlegmatic about the incident, and was chiefly annoyed that it left him without time to visit Kraków.

The concerts themselves appeared to have left a better impression. When Marguerite Long visited Warsaw again in 1949, she responded to an invitation to play by suggesting a Chopin concerto, but she was told that the young audience was insisting that she should play Ravel's concerto (Long [1971] p.68-69).