In this video, we enjoy Maurice Ravel’s famous Bolero, arranged by Francesco Tristano for two grand pianos, merging the work’s characteristic tension and building energy, with the sheer delight of playing.
Pianists Alice Sara Ott and Francesco Tristano perform the breathtaking concert, letting their keyboards stand in for a full orchestra and all of its tonal colours, at a concert recorded on April 16, 2015, as part of the Heidelberger Frühling festival for contemporary classical music.
Ravel (1875-1937) composed the Bolero in 1928 as a ballet for dancer Ida Rubinstein, who also danced its premiere in the same year. As early as 1930, the rhythmic piece was being performed in concerto form, and has remained one of the world’s most beloved orchestral concert pieces ever since.
Musically, the Bolero is an anomaly – the entire single-movement piece is underscored by an ostinato 3/4 rhythm. Over this, two different melodies are played, each of them in 18 variations – and always on the same fundamental tone of C.
Here, our ears, more accustomed to hearing the piece’s deliberate dissonance expressed over orchestral lushness, may find this rendition a challenge in some sections. That said, the performance thrums with surprising new tonal qualities and a swelling richness of sound, until the roundelay reaches its finale in a densely-resolved crescendo.
View the original video here.
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