Ma Mère l'Oye (Mother Goose), is a musical work by French composer Maurice Ravel. Originally written as a piano duet for four hands for the Godebski children, Mimie and Jean, the piece was transcribed for solo piano by Ravel's friend Jacques Charlot the same year as it was published (1910). The work was dedicated to the two children just as his earlier work, Sonatine, was dedicated to their parents. Jeanne Leleu and Geneviève Durony premiered the work. The piano versions bear the subtitle "cinq pièces enfantines" (Five children's pieces).
- I. Pavane de la Belle au bois dormant
- Pavane of Sleeping Beauty in the wood
- Little Tom Thumb / Hop on my thumb
- Très modéré
- III. Laideronnette, Impératrice des pagodes
- "Little Homely," Empress of the toy mandarins
- "Mouvt de Marche"
- IV. Les entretiens de la Belle et de la Bête
- Conversation of Beauty and the Beast
- "Mouvt de Valse très modéré"
- The wondrous garden
- "Lent et Grave"
On several of the scores, Ravel included quotes to display what he was trying to invoke. For example, from the second movement:
- "Il croyait trouver aisément son chemin par le moyen de son pain qu'il avait semé partout où il avait passé; mais il fut bien surpris lorsqu'il ne put retrouver une seule miette: les oiseaux étaient venus qui avaient tout mangé. (Ch. Perrault.)"
- ["He believed he'd easily find his way because of the bread that he'd strewn all along his path; but he was very surprised to find not one single crumb: the birds had come and eaten everything."]
Sleeping Beauty in the wood and Little Tom Thumb were derived from the tales from Charles Perrault, while Little Homely, Empress of the toy mandarins was that of Perrault's "rival" Marie-Catherine, Comtesse d'Aulnoy. In this movement, Ravel takes takes advantage of the pentatonic scale. Beauty and the Beast is based upon the version by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. The origin of Wondrous Garden is not entirely known.
In 1911, Ravel orchestrated the work; then, in 1912, he expanded it as a ballet with new movements and interludes: "Prélude" and "Danse du rouet et scène".