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Marcelle Lender Dancing the Bolero in "Chilperic" 1896 Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901 French)

Oil on canvas J. H. Whitney Private Collection, New York, USA 


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Maurice Ravel

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Boléro is a one-movement orchestral piece by Maurice Ravel that’s remarkable for many reasons.  There’s not a single written crescendo or tempo change, yet the whole work builds to an exciting climax.  Commissioned by Russian actress and dancer Ida Rubinstein, Boléro created a sensation at its premiere in 1928. Ravel was surprised by its popularity. “I have written only one masterpiece,” he reportedly said with a hint of snark. “That is Boléro.  Unfortunately, it contains no music.”