Bolero (1928) was written as a ballet for the dancer Ida Rubinstein, although it soon took on an independent existence as the most popular work Ravel ever composed. It is a study in crescendo based on an obstinate tune varied with delicate nuances until it explodes into a liberating discord. Quite different from the traditional bolero, a lively Spanish dance, Ravel’s version snakes along with a languid but compelling rhythm that makes a hypnotic effect.

Ravel – Orchestral Works (1975). Orchestra de Paris conducted by Jean Martinon.


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