Maurice Ravel "Bolero": the history of creation

Joseph Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) - this is one of which, together with Debussy, was the leading representative of such musical direction as impressionism. He graduated from the Piano Conservatory in Paris. Despite the fact that this composer’s luggage contains both suites and operas, the most famous work of Ravel is “Bolero”, whose history will be presented today.

Hypnotic effect

Ballet Fragment

"Bolero" by Maurice Ravel is an orchestral piece, which was originally conceived as ballet music. It was inspired by the Spanish folk dance of the same name. This music was written and first performed in 1928. It happened in the theater "Grand Opera" in Paris. November 22 there was an entreprising evening for ballet dancer Ida Rubinstein. Then he conducted the orchestra V. Straram.

As musicologist A. Maikapar wrote, Ravel's “Bolero” gained extraordinary popularity due to the fact that it had a hypnotic effect on the public.And this happened due to the fact that in the work there is a constant rhythmic figure, repeated many times. Against its background, two themes are also held more than once, with the help of which the growing emotional tension is demonstrated, and the sound of more and more new instruments is introduced.

Total music "Bolero" by Ravel sounds for about 15 minutes. Although, if you perform it as the composer himself demanded (without acceleration, at the same pace), it can last up to 18 minutes.

Order of the score

Maurice Ravel

As mentioned above, the musical work under consideration was written in 1928. Then the composer returned from a North American tour. Ida Rubinstein ordered the score intended for the embodiment in choreography.

M. Ravel was friends with composer H. Nin, who was first told that the dancer had offered to do several pieces for her, the author of which was I. Albeniz. He was a composer who belonged to the founders of the national Spanish music school.

New idea

However, Ning had information that conductor E was busy with this work.Arbos, who even received permission from publishers. Having learned this, Ravel went to Paris to discuss this issue with Ida, during which a joint idea appeared, to create a completely new ballet work.

A few weeks later, Ravel told Nina about the work on the score, noting that in her, in the true sense of the word, there is no form, and there is no development and almost no modulations.

The name of the ballet was given by the popular Spanish dance, which had a moderately fast tempo and a three-part size. As a rule, he performed under the accompaniment of castanets.

About his "Bolero" Ravel wrote the following. He said that he composed it for orchestra at the request of Ms. Rubinstein. This is a dance performed at a moderate pace, which is completely unchanged in melodic, harmonic and rhythmic terms. In this case, the drum necessarily continuously beats the rhythm. Orchestral crescendo - this is the only element that brings diversity.

First performance

Ida Rubinstein

As mentioned above, the first performance of “Bolero” by M. Ravel was performed during a performance by Rubinstein in the Paris “Grand Opera” staged by B. Nizhinskaya.In the main role was Ida herself, who wore high heels. She looked like a caged beast rushing around - self-confident, proud, and tireless.

All her movements were with a characteristic Spanish flavor, imitated folk dance and flamenco style. And the dance, which was performed on the table, as well as with daggers, entered into a kind of roll call with the ballet Don Quixote staged by M. Petipa. The choreography was generally inclined towards minimalism. The scenery for the play was performed by A. Benoit.

Other versions

Bronislava Nizhinskaya

In subsequent years, "Bolero" by Ravel sounded in other ballet performances. Here are some of them:

  • 1932 The re-production of Nijinsky in Opera Comic.
  • Season 1934-35 A new version created for the troupe I. Rubinstein, staged by M. Fokin., Was shown in the Grand Opera.
  • 1941 In the same theater, the ballet was choreographed by S. Lifar. And also “Bolero” by B. Nizhinskaya was included in the repertoire of the Russian ballet, performing in Monte Carlo. Solo party - A. Danilova.
  • 1950s Performance in the Ballet of the Marquis de Cuevas.
  • 1995 Restored ballet in the USA N. Yushkevich at the request of Irina, daughter of Nizhinsky.
  • 1999 Staged by Yushkevich in Milan's “La Scala” in honor of the evening in memory of I. Rubinstein.
  • 2007 Transfer by A. Liepa to the video recording of performances for the Kremlin ballet performers.In the main role - I. Liepa. N. Raets - granddaughter of Nizhinsky, attended the premiere.

Orchestral work

Ballet poster

For Ravel, “Bolero” is the second (after “Spanish Rhapsody”) piece for orchestra on a Spanish theme. The mutual arrangement of the individual parts and the strict sequence observed in the development of the main theme made it possible to reflect the dance element characteristic of Spanish music.

“Bolero” very quickly became a component of the repertoire of the world's largest conductors as a full orchestral piece. It should be noted that the author insisted that it be performed both without acceleration and without deceleration.

A pupil and explorer of M. Ravel Roland-Manuel recalled that the composer conducted the work with dry gestures, in a strictly sustained, very moderate pace.

One of the first performances of "Bolero" was visited by the outstanding Russian and Soviet composer S. Prokofiev, who also noted the slow pace of conducting, calling it imperturbable. In 1930, this work was first sounded in the USSR. In her repertoire "Bolero" Ravel included A. Pavlova, the famous Russian ballerina.

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