Boléro is a one-movement orchestral piece by the French composer Maurice Ravel (1875–1937). Originally composed as a ballet commissioned by Russian actress and dancer Ida Rubinstein, the piece, which premiered in 1928, is Ravel's most famous musical composition.
Before Boléro, Ravel had composed large-scale ballets (such as Daphnis et Chloé, composed for the Ballets Russes 1909–1912), suites for the ballet (such as the second orchestral version of Ma mère l'oye, 1912), and one-movement dance pieces (such as La valse, 1906–1920). Apart from such compositions intended for a staged dance performance, Ravel had demonstrated an interest in composing re-styled dances, from his earliest successes—the 1895 Menuet and the 1899 Pavane—to his more mature works like Le tombeau de Couperin, which takes the format of a dance suite.
Boléro epitomizes Ravel's preoccupation with restyling and reinventing dance movements. It was also one of the last pieces he composed before illness forced him into retirement. The two piano concertos and the song cycle Don Quichotte à Dulcinée were the only completed compositions that followed Boléro.
Performances & Interviews
- Ravel: Boléro - BBC Proms 2013https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01dbldd.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01dbldd.jpg2013-07-26T16:11:00.000ZDancers from the Antonio Márquez Company accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Juanjo Mena in Ravel’s Boléro.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p01dblq5
Ravel: Boléro - BBC Proms 2013Dancers from the Antonio Márquez Company accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Juanjo Mena in Ravel’s Boléro.
- Watch: Ravel's Bolero with a commentary by Dr Caroline Raehttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01t691f.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01t691f.jpg2014-03-03T12:57:00.000ZWatch a BBC Symphony Orchestra rehearsal performance of Ravel's Bolero, conducted by Lionel Bringuier, with commentary by Dr Caroline Rae.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p01t693d
Watch: Ravel's Bolero with a commentary by Dr Caroline RaeWatch a BBC Symphony Orchestra rehearsal performance of Ravel's Bolero, conducted by Lionel Bringuier, with commentary by Dr Caroline Rae.