Maurice Ravel is a particularly fascinating composer, once one manages to get past the monument to terminal ennui that is Bolero. Here we have one his earlier works, the Rapsodie espagnol, in which a young Ravel turns his impressionistic eye on the sounds and impressions of Spain. Ravel composed the Rapsodie in 1907, and through its pages you can certainly hear Romanticism receding into memory and Modernism knocking on the door; this is 20th century music through and through, even if it maintains its grounding in the land of tonality. The work is in four movements, each one evocative of an exotic Iberia, so close and yet, thanks to the mountains, not quite so close as all that. Meditative song lives alongside exuberant dance here, and the entire piece ends in a riot of color.
Here is the Rapsodie espagnol by Maurice Ravel.
About a decade ago, friends of mine had tickets for the Albany Symphony Orchestra. But they so hated Bolero that he offered us their tickets. Somewhat to my surprise, Bolero was better live than in any recording I had ever heard.
I *performed* BOLERO, which didn’t even help it for me!