It’s not a tone poem.
It’s also not a piece that I even like.
I’ve never liked this piece.
I didn’t like it when I played it in college. I didn’t like it when Torvill and Dean skated to it. And I didn’t like it this past weekend when I listened to it five times.
But still…well. I don’t know. I’ll say this: the performance here is one of the few that doesn’t have me clocking out at around the eight minute mark, and the video itself is amazing, with some of the best camera work I’ve ever seen in a classical music concert video. (Don’t ask my why Gergiev is using what appears to be a toothpick instead of a baton to conduct.)
The work is a ballet, not a tone poem. I know. And it’s the same damned melody, over and over again, for fifteen minutes. I know. And I’ve never once felt the slightest hint of why so many consider this work the height of eroticism in classical music. But…well. I don’t know.
Here’s Ravel and Bolero.