Sergiu Celibidache – Munchener Philharmoniker – Ravel: Bolero – Japan, 1994

 
 
This article is about Ravel’s piece for orchestra. For Latin music, see Bolero. For other uses, see Bolero (disambiguation).

Ida Rubinstein, the inspiration behind Boléro. Portrait by Valentin Serov.

A scene from Maurice Béjart’s production of Boléro. The leading ballet dancer Sylvie Guillem makes a leaping movement on a table, which is similar to the original 1928 choreography of Bronislava Nijinska.[1]

Boléro is a one-movement orchestral piece by Maurice Ravel (1875–1937). Originally composed as a balletcommissioned by Russian ballerina Ida Rubinstein, the piece, which premiered in 1928, is Ravel’s most famous musical composition.[2] 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 epitomises 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 Don Quichotte à Dulcinée song cycle were the only compositions that followed Boléro.
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Sergiu Celibidache (Romanian: [ˈserd͡ʒju t͡ʃelibiˈdake]; 11 July [O.S. 28 June] 1912 – 14 August 1996) was a Romanian conductorcomposer, and teacher. Educated in his native Romania, and later in Paris and Berlin, Celibidache’s career in music spanned over five decades, including tenures as principal conductor for the Munich PhilharmonicBerlin Philharmonic and several European orchestras. Later in life, he taught at Mainz University in Germany and the Curtis Institute of Music in PhiladelphiaPennsylvania.

Celibidache frequently refused to release his performances on commercial recordings during his lifetime claiming that a listener could not obtain a “transcendental experience” outside of the concert hall.
Many of the recordings of his performances were released posthumously. Nonetheless, he earned international acclaim for celebrated interpretations of classical music repertoire and was known for a spirited performance style informed by his study and experiences in Zen Buddhism. His later career was marred by controversy and accusations of sexism and discrimination that came to light during a 12-year legal battle that dominated his tenure at the Munich Philharmonic.[1]

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