- Album name: Ravel: Bolero
- Composer name: Maurice Ravel
- Conductor name: Eugene Ormandy
- Orchestra name: The Philadelphia Orchestra
- Year: 1960
- Number of discs: one
- Label: Columbia Masterworks
- Collection: Brenner / Gessner
- Distinguishing characteristics: “G” written on top left of album, indicating that my father owned it
- Buy it on Ebay: $25.00
Level of familiarity before listening
Like most people, and especially most people of my generation, Boléro is very familiar to me, but I never gave it a thought or knew its name until I read Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind around 15 years ago. I’ve probably played it around 100 times since then, and it’s also come up in various popular culture.
What I expected
Boléro, plus a couple of other pieces that I don’t know by name and doubt that I’ll recognize.
What it was actually like
I love every part of Boléro, but how can I review it? It’s a pretty piece of music and there’s a woman in a daze with a lit match in her mouth on the album cover.
I had never heard Toscanini’s infamous fast version before tonight, and I think I’m fine with how Ravel intended it. Here’s another version with just two cellos, which is extremely cool. Here’s a Frank Zappa version, because of course Frank Zappa would be all over anything that Allan Bloom disliked, and here’s a trippy cartoon rock version.
The two pieces on the second side, Alborada del gracioso and Le Tombeau de Couperin, were not very interesting.
4/5: would listen again