b. Ciboure, France / March 7, 1875; d. Paris, France / December 28, 1937
In 1928, dancer Ida Rubinstein commissioned a new ballet score from Ravel. He used the opportunity to conduct an experiment. As he put it, the score would be “uniform throughout in its melody, harmony and rhythm, the latter being tapped out continuously on the side drum. The only element of variety is supplied by the orchestral crescendo.” Instrumental colouring plays a major role, as well, an area in which Ravel had attained supreme mastery. The first, wildly successful performance took place in Paris on November 22. This hypnotic music quickly found even greater and enduring success in the concert hall.
Program Notes Don Anderson 2012
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