Maurice Ravel’s ‘Bolero’

RavelThis work was originally commissioned by Ida Rubinstein as a ballet. Ravel cheerfully labelled his Bolero ‘a piece for orchestra without music’. It was born of his frustration at finding the conductor Enrique Arbós had pre-empted him in orchestrating some movements from Albéniz’s Iberia, which Ravel had intended for a ballet for Ida Rubinstein. So instead, one morning Ravel picked out on the piano what he described as ‘a pretty emphatic kind of tune’ and declared that he was going to subject it to varying orchestral effects without any thematic development. (mais…)