Maurice Ravel’s Bolero

I love this rendition of Bolero, retold by Beninese singer Angelique Kidjo and later used as the soundtrack for a short animation.

I love this interpretation too. The cartoon explains the form of the music so well.

And I am sure that Ravel himself would have loved this performance despite its faster-than-written tempo.

The form of this piece is so minimalist that scholars have debated whether Ravel was showing early symptoms of dementia through the composition. When Bolero was written in 1928, a great composition was defined by its antics in the development of melodic and harmonic ideas.

Instead, Ravel completely relied on exploring color and texture. He later explained, “It  is an experiment in a very special and limited direction, and it should not be suspected of aiming at achieving anything different from, or anything more than, it actually does achieve. Before the first performance, I issued a warning to the effect that what I had written was a piece … consisting wholly of orchestral texture without music—of one long, very gradual crescendo … I have done exactly what I have set out to do, and it is for listeners to take it or leave it.”

Personally, I will take it.

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