Pavane pour une infante défunte (Pavane for a Dead Infanta), by Maurice Ravel

By way of contrast, here, for All Saints ‘n’ Souls, is Pavane pour une infante défunte (Pavane for a Dead Infanta) by Maurice Ravel, played by Kathryn Stott.  Ravel’s mother was Spanish and grew up in Madrid ( though she was of Basque origin).  This is one of a number of pieces he wrote in a vaguely Spanish style (most famously Bolero).  The title seems to have been chosen for reasons of euphony rather than being intentionally a mournful or memorial piece.

Real dead Infantas (Spanish Princesses) are buried in the vaults of the Escorial, described thus by H.V. Morton –

“… our tour among dead royalty had only just begun.  The first landing on the way up leads down again into a series of vaults which were slightly more cheerful in appearance.  The marble is white and artists have been allowed to exercise their sepulchral fancies.  After the uniform state and gloom of the royal mausoleum, a white angel in tears or a drooping figure of Grief was a relief to the nerves.  In a succession of vaults those Queens of Spain who had failed in their dynastic duties, or had produced only daughters, lie with princes and princesses without number.  Then come a numerous company, the natural sons and daughters of kings, known as ‘The Bastards of Spain’.”  

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