When the world comes crashing down – a personal interpretation of Ravel’s La Valse

Classical music for all

It is hard to think of a work by the French composer Maurice Ravel that would surpass his Boléro in fame and renown. The piece, performed for the first time in 1928, became an immediate success, much to the surprise of Ravel, who regarded it with no little Maurice Ravelcondescension, said it consisted wholly of “orchestral tissue without music” and was certain that orchestras would refuse to play it. The Boléro was the last link in a long chain of dance music composed by Ravel, some of it written for the ballet, some of it conceived as purely instrumental music – as stylized dances for the orchestra or for piano. Dances permeate his work, from the Menuet antiquehe composed when he was 20, up to the beautifully melancholic slow waltz which forms the second movement of his Concerto in G, one of his last works. Within this group…

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