- historical event: Ravel’s Bolero is an unusual work because it consists of constant repetition of the same theme over and over again without any modification, but with the gradual amplification of the orchestra.
The piece of Maurice Ravel called Boléro was originally composed as a ballet. The work was commissioned from Ravel by famous Russian ballerina Ida Rubinstein. Ravel was at that time a famous French composer of music for ballets and dances. He got the idea for the Boléro main theme in the French resort of St Jean-de-Luz, near the Spanish border. He played the melody to his friend on a piano with one finger, and said he would make a piece by repeating it a number of times without any development, only enhancing the orchestra, similar to a form of Spanish dance called bolero.
The premiere was held at the Paris Opera on this day in the year 1928 and had a sensational success. Ravel himself was much surprised by this. He thought that no one would want to play such a work, and it eventually became the most successful composition in his career.