The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

3 March 2004

Pounding rhythm to the brain

Lynn is not overly fond of Maurice Ravel's Boléro:

I was fascinated with Boléro for a short time when I was just beginning to explore classical music but it quickly became boring and then seriously annoying. Now it is one of the few pieces of classical music that I truly hate. It's sort of a neat idea but Ravel should have ended it seven or eight minutes sooner. The last few repetitions are nothing but unbearable noise.

Chalk me up as someone who considers them bearable noise; this isn't my favorite Ravel work — that would be the Piano Concerto in G major — but I've always admired it for its sheer perversity, and whether the composer did this deliberately or as the symptom of an illness, I'm still rather delighted that he did it.

And, if for no other reason, Boléro deserves credit for inspiring Roy Orbison's 1961 hit "Running Scared".

Posted at 1:40 PM to Tongue and Groove


TMI alert

It's one of my goals in life to have sex and finish at the appropriate time during that song...now I just need to work on finding someone who'll do it with me...

Posted by: Skip Perry at 9:57 PM on 3 March 2004

You need to watch Allegro Non Troppo's Bolero sequence; it'll lead to a re-appreciation for the piece.

This is one of the few movies I've seen where the English-dubbed version is actually superior to the original language (Italian in this case). The dubbed version seems to be near-impossible to find, though.

Posted by: CT at 9:14 AM on 4 March 2004

I can't think of anything but Torvill and Dean skating in the Olympics when I hear it.

Posted by: Erica at 8:55 AM on 5 March 2004

Whenever I hear "Bolero", I think of a soaking wet Bo Derek at the beach, a la the "10" promo spots on tv. I think that was my first encounter with the piece.

Posted by: timekeeper at 3:04 PM on 6 March 2004