La valse, poème chorégraphique pour orchestre (a choreographic poem for orchestra), is a work written by Maurice Ravel between February 1919 and 1920; it was first performed on 12 December 1920 in Paris. It was conceived as a ballet but is now more often heard as a concert work. The work has been described as a tribute to the waltz, and the composer George Benjamin, in his analysis of La valse, summarized the ethos of the work:
Ravel himself, however, denied that it is a reflection of post-World War I Europe, saying:
He also commented, in 1922, that "It doesn't have anything to do with the present situation in Vienna, and it also doesn't have any symbolic meaning in that regard. In the course of La Valse, I did not envision a dance of death or a struggle between life and death. (The year of the choreographic setting, 1855, repudiates such an assumption.)"
In his tribute to Ravel after the composer's death in 1937, Paul Landormy described the work as follows:
Performances & Interviews
- Ravel: La valsehttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01snnp3.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01snnp3.jpg2012-02-02T20:32:00.000ZStephen Johnson explores the roots of the waltz - from rustic German dances to sinister, dizzy treatments by Schumann and Mahler - before focusing on Ravel's La valse.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/b01bdcrt
Ravel: La valseStephen Johnson explores the roots of the waltz - from rustic German dances to sinister, dizzy treatments by Schumann and Mahler - before focusing on Ravel's La valse.
- Ravel: La Valsehttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p022g13t.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p022g13t.jpg2014-07-08T16:51:00.000ZWilliam Mival surveys recordings of Ravel's La Valse and makes a personal recommendation.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p022g14q
Ravel: La ValseWilliam Mival surveys recordings of Ravel's La Valse and makes a personal recommendation.
- Ravel: La Valsehttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p031xh4y.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p031xh4y.jpg2015-09-08T11:39:00.000ZWith Yunqing Zhou (piano). Leeds International Piano Competition 2015, semi-final. Recorded 6 September 2015.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p031xy5n
Ravel: La ValseWith Yunqing Zhou (piano). Leeds International Piano Competition 2015, semi-final. Recorded 6 September 2015.