Sunday, January 07, 2007

Bolero, Bolero Bolero, Bolero

Perhap's Maurice Ravel's greatest known composition is "Bolero." There are those who say it is boring, and those who say it is the product of a man affected with Alzheimer's disease. Apparently, Ravel died after surgery to alleviate what was thought of as a brain disease. Apparently, he had a "collapsed left hemisphere." We know that brain disease does affect behavior, mimicking mental illnesses and deficiencies.

After hearing about Ravel's comments that although Bolero was commissioned as a ballet, it was based on the industrial rhythms he heard when he visited factories with his father, an engineer, I found myself becoming the owner of "The Ultimate Bolero" which is 69 minutes of 10 different versions of "Bolero." Two, by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, run 13-14 minutes. The composition as written by Ravel generally runs 14 - 18 minutes, depending upon the orchestration style.

The other pieces on this CD are variations of Bolero, from Big Band to percussion pieces. All interesting. The track I like best is the Boston Symphony Orchestra version.



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