Like all of Maurice Ravel's compositions, the virtuosic violin piece Tzigane, styled rapsodie de concert by the composer, rapidly became a mainstay of the concert repertory following its premiere with piano by the Hungarian violinist Jelly d'Aranyi in April 1924 in London (her premiere of the orchestral version occurred in Paris on 30 November 1924 with Gabriel Pierné conducting the Colonne Orchestra). Yet, despite its popularity, no critic has included it among Ravel's major works. Reflections on Tzigane in the secondary musicological literature are very few indeed, which is somewhat surprising in the context of a new explosion of interest in Ravel. In his recent biography, Roger Nichols avers that ‘probably no one has ever suggested that Tzigane is great music’. Robert Orledge noted in 2000 that it ‘has never been among Ravel's most successful works’, a remark surely meant as a critique of the composition rather than a statement about its popularity with performers, which has been considerable. Alexis Roland-Manuel, a close friend of the composer, did not even discuss the piece in his biography of 1938. The violinist Hélène Jourdan-Morhange, another close friend and consultant about the virtuoso figuration in Tzigane, confessed almost apologetically in her book on Ravel that ‘this rhapsodic piece is perhaps the only one in Ravel's oeuvre where I cannot locate – hidden in the intricacies of its tours de force – Ravel's characteristic flavour: in it, music has surrendered too much place to instrumental acrobatics’. In other words, she appears to suggest that Tzigane is a mere showpiece where Ravel's personal style has been eclipsed by fireworks, with an implicit criticism of pandering to market. The Hungarian violinist Joseph Szigeti spoke of the ‘resistance I always felt towards this brilliant and (to my mind) synthetically produced pastiche of Ravel's’. At the time of the premiere, the young Henri Sauguet told Francis Poulenc that ‘the aesthetic informing these pages is so antiquated that I am astonished anyone can still believe in it’.