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Thread: Ravel's Bolero as ballet?

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    Senior Member Albert7's Avatar
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    Default Ravel's Bolero as ballet?

    I was astonished to learn that Bolero was originally a ballet. I found Boulez's CD at the library in the ballet section so it's so cool that I'm learning something new each and everyday!

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    I didn't know it was composed for a ballet either. I have seen it as a ballet but I thought someone created a ballet much later.

    It was this one- I thought it was quite good
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc_8P4FlDcI

    Thanks for teaching me something new today!

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    Isn't it supposed to be about a Spanish dancer who inflames the men in the crowd until a knife fight breaks out? I've always wondered how that was performed originally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manxfeeder View Post
    Isn't it supposed to be about a Spanish dancer who inflames the men in the crowd until a knife fight breaks out? I've always wondered how that was performed originally.
    That sounds like Carmen to me LOL!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by albertfallickwang View Post
    That sounds like Carmen to me LOL!!!
    Ha! But Bolero doesn't involve bulls. Unless it's that oild move Bo Derek was in, which did involve a bullfighter, I believe. (Never saw it.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by albertfallickwang View Post
    I was astonished to learn that Bolero was originally a ballet. I found Boulez's CD at the library in the ballet section so it's so cool that I'm learning something new each and everyday!
    I've never actually seen it as a ballet, though I knew it was supposed to be one. Maybe it is not often danced to because the music is so effective by itself.
    ≥12

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Commissioned by Russian actress and dancer Ida Rubinstein, who trained late and was at least as much of a highly theatrical actress as she was a dancer, as a showpiece for her.

    The piece is also an exercise of, as Ravel put it, "orchestral tissue without music."

    It is also one very famous example of the effect of the mechanics of the orchestral crescendo, i.e. the gradually increased dynamic from p to fff is achieved solely by the layered addition of the number of instruments playing -- the more added, the more increased the amplitude of the overall sound they collectively produce -- vs. anything actually written as a crescendo -- the dynamic marked for all the instruments throughout never changes, yet the effect is a gradual crescendo over the entire duration :-)

    Too, that theme is constantly varied throughout in numerous ways, lengthened, perhaps by 'the additive technique,' an added pitch here or there, or part of the phrase within the phrase repeated. It is anything but an exact wholesale repetition of the same melody of exactly the same contour and length.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PetrB View Post
    Commissioned by Russian actress and dancer Ida Rubinstein, who trained late and was at least as much of a highly theatrical actress as she was a dancer, as a showpiece for her.

    The piece is also an exercise of, as Ravel put it, "orchestral tissue without music."

    It is also one very famous example of the effect of the mechanics of the orchestral crescendo, i.e. the gradually increased dynamic from p to fff is achieved solely by the layered addition of the number of instruments playing -- the more added, the more increased the amplitude of the overall sound they collectively produce -- vs. anything actually written as a crescendo -- the dynamic marked for all the instruments throughout never changes, yet the effect is a gradual crescendo over the entire duration :-)

    Too, that theme is constantly varied throughout in numerous ways, lengthened, perhaps by 'the additive technique,' an added pitch here or there, or part of the phrase within the phrase repeated. It is anything but an exact wholesale repetition of the same melody of exactly the same contour and length.
    And after all that it still manages to p*** many people off to this day. Not that I'm one of them.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

    ὃν οἱ θεοὶ φιλοῦσιν ἀποθνῄσκει νέος [Those whom the gods love die young] - Menander

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    Quote Originally Posted by elgars ghost View Post
    And after all that it still manages to p*** many people off to this day. Not that I'm one of them.
    I wouldn't say it needs multitudinous repeat listens, lol. But it is one helluva well crafted oddity which is more than successful in what the composer set out to do.

    The bolero is a rhythm from a native South American mating ritual.
    ---When I lived in Northern California, in that time the local FM classical station had a program slot on Sunday mid-days where they played listener requested pieces. One such request was for Bolero, and the couple who requested it also qualified that they were hoping for a performance of the piece as recorded and of the longest duration playing time on record.
    ---On that one occasion only, the announcer quite exceptionally pre-announced this requested selection, and pointedly emphasized via his tone of voice:

    "To Joe and Jenna in Sausalito, we have found a recording of Bolero which lasts twenty-one minutes, and we will be playing it one hour from now!

    Maybe that qualifies as yet another kind of ballet
    Last edited by PetrB; Dec-31-2014 at 02:12.

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    lest we forget Daphnis et Chloé - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daphnis_et_Chlo%C3%A9

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    I always thought this almost has to be danced to -- the limitations of the music don't make it suited to a purely orchestral piece imo.

    Oddly enough, I watched a Bejart choreographed version of Bolero last night. I managed to catch it just before it began, shown on Sky Arts. Youtube upload here (slightly low quality):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc_8P4FlDcI

    Quote Originally Posted by PetrB View Post
    It is also one very famous example of the effect of the mechanics of the orchestral crescendo, i.e. the gradually increased dynamic from p to fff is achieved solely by the layered addition of the number of instruments playing -- the more added, the more increased the amplitude of the overall sound they collectively produce -- vs. anything actually written as a crescendo -- the dynamic marked for all the instruments throughout never changes, yet the effect is a gradual crescendo over the entire duration :-)
    Thanks -- I had never known this, very interesting indeed! Do you know of any other examples? :-)
    Last edited by Skilmarilion; Dec-31-2014 at 20:45.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skilmarilion View Post
    Thanks -- I had never known this, very interesting indeed! Do you know of any other examples? :-)
    The beginning of the third movement of Mahler's First is carried out similarly, though the crescendo doesn't last the whole movement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skilmarilion View Post

    Thanks -- I had never known this, very interesting indeed! Do you know of any other examples? :-)
    There's the famous invasion theme in the first movement of Shostakovich's 7th symphony.

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    Wait..... WHAAAAAAT? That's cool!

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    Polish experimental film maker and videographer Zbigniew Rybczynski put Ravel's Bolero to good use in his 1990 film 'The Orchestra'. I havn't seen the whole movie. This is the 'Stairway to Lenin' sequence. Reminds me of the movie 'The Russian Ark', if only for the long continuous tracking shot (I'm not a film maker so I don't know the technical term).


    Stairway to Lenin


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