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Ravel: La valse

Stephen 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.

We think of the waltz as the apotheosis of elegance, refinement, high society. But it wasn't always so...

In today's "Discovering Music", Stephen Johnson explores the roots of the waltz - from rustic German dances, to sinister, dizzy treatments by Schumann and Mahler - before looking in-depth at "La Valse" by Maurice Ravel. Ravel was fascinated by the history and cultural trappings of the waltz form - as well as its dark underbelly...and his "choreographic poem" for orchestra is a dazzling evocation of gliding dancers warped and transmuted into something rather more sinister...

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