November 22nd Celebrates Bolero

Today on Days to Remember we celebrate how on November 22, 1928 the song called, “Bolero” written by Maurice Ravel was first performed publicly in Paris.

Bolero is one my favorite songs that I like to hear, but how did this famous song all come about?

Bolero is a one-movement orchestral piece by Maurice Ravel, originally composed as a ballet commissioned by Russian actress and dancer Ida Rubinstein.

Today’s YouTube video presentation brought to you by user name, (georange). There’s a short commerical in the beginning of the video clip, sorry about that, but it’s a beautiful piece with the song playing in the background with horses performing from Dream Horses, as we celebrate the song, “Bolero” which was performed publicly in Paris for the first time on November 22, 1928.

Who was Maurice Ravel?

Joseph Maurice Ravel was a French composer, pianist and conductor. He is often associated with impressionism along with his elder contemporary Claude Debussy, although both composers rejected the term. In the 1920s and ’30s Ravel was internationally regarded as France’s greatest living composer.
Ravel was born in the Basque town of Ciboure, France, near Biarritz, later in life, Ravel recalled, “Throughout my childhood I was sensitive to music. My father, much better educated in this art than most amateurs are, that I knew how to develop my taste and to stimulate my enthusiasm at an early age.”

When he was seven Ravel started piano lessons with Henry Ghys, a friend of Emmanuel Chabrier; five years later, in 1887, he began studying harmony, counterpoint and composition with Charles-René, a pupil of Léo Delibes. Without being anything of a child prodigy, he was a highly musical boy.

Around 1900 Ravel and a number of innovative young artists, poets, critics, and musicians joined together in an informal group; they came to be known as Les Apaches, a name coined by Viñes to represent their status as “artistic outcasts”.

When George Gershwin asked him for lessons in the 1920s, Ravel, after serious consideration, refused, on the grounds that they “would probably cause him to write bad Ravel and lose his great gift of melody and spontaneity”.

Ravel, a lifelong bachelor, may have been a homosexual; such speculation recurred by Benjamin Ivry, subsequent studies have concluded that Ravel’s sexuality and personal life remain a mystery.

When Germany invaded France in 1914 Ravel tried to join the French Air Force. He considered his small stature and light weight ideal for an aviator, but was rejected because of his age and a minor heart complaint. After several unsuccessful attempts to enlist, Ravel finally joined the Thirteenth Artillery Regiment as a lorry driver in March 1915, when he was forty. After the war those close to Ravel recognized that he had lost much of his physical and mental stamina.

In October 1932 Ravel suffered a blow to the head in a taxi accident. The injury was not thought serious at the time, but in a study for the British Medical Journal in 1988 the neurologist R. A. Henson concludes that it may have exacerbated an existing cerebral condition.

As early as 1927 close friends had been concerned at Ravel’s growing absent-mindedness, and within a year of the accident he started to experience symptoms suggesting aphasia.

The exact nature of his illness is unknown. Experts have ruled out the possibility of a tumor, and have variously suggested front temporal dementia from Alzheimer’s disease.

Ravel’s brother Edouard accepted this advice; as Henson comments, the patient was in no state to express a considered view. After the operation there seemed to be an improvement in his condition, but it was short-lived, and he soon lapsed into a coma. He died on December 28th 1937, at the age of 62.
Music gives us a soul to the universe. Wings to your mind, flight to our imagination and Life to things we haven’t yet imagined, as we celebrate the premiere of the song called ‘Bolero,’ making its first premiere publicly in Paris, on November 22, 1928.

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell


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