The London Philharmonic Orchestra - Ravel's Bolero

The London Philharmonic Orchestra - Ravel's Bolero

Catalogue Code: 782092

Barcode: 5050457820923

Release Date: 22 Aug 2011

BOLERO Since 1928, when Maurice Ravel wrote Bolero, the piece has been one to stimulate discussion and argument. It has been called 'hypnotic', 'boring', 'nerve-racking', and 'captivating'. Undoubtedly, it has been all of these things to different listeners. It is, in any event, the world's longest musical crescendo. Although Ravel was a Frenchman to the world, his birth in the Basses-Pyrenees of a Basque mother and a French-Swiss father was sufficient to arouse his interest in Spanish music. Bolero, however, is in no way a serious attempt at Spanish dance music. Ravel's Bolero is not truly a bolero at all. The basic rhythm pattern remains, but the tempo of this work is much slower than the bolero dance. The bolero is not even a true folk dance, but rather a theatrical concoction based on the polonaise, chaconne and the zarabande. Ravel's Bolero is basically built upon a two-part musical theme which is repeated about eighteen times in the work. The orchestral colours used are as varied as ever attempted, but through it all is the relentless, driving rhythm of the snare drum. The first part of the basic subject is presented by the flute. Then, beginning with the bassoon, the wind instruments in turn take up the melody or some variation of it. It moves from clarinet to oboe to flute to trumpet to tenor and soprano saxophones. Then, as the crescendo builds, the theme is taken up by groups of instruments. It continues to build to the powerful, cumulative and frenzied end. THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE Paul Dukas, who died in 1935, was a native of Paris and well known as both a composer and as a musical critic. The Sorcerer's Apprentice is best known of all his writings and has intrigued listeners for years with its vivacity and intensity. The story itself is after a poem by Goethe which was derived from a folk tale. Since the story deals with sorcery, mystery and magic, Dukas' writing takes full advantage of the instrumental and orchestral possibilities. Listen for the muted violins and the figures introduced and repeated by clarinet, oboe and flute. Heed the appearance of the magician, for example, introduced by three bassoons. Then note the magical happenings as scored for the glockenspiel, cymbals, violins, trumpets, horns, etc. At the end, listen carefully to the three startling chords which, it has been said, is Dukas himself laughing.

1. Bolero
2. The Sorcerer's Apprentice