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Monday, November 22, 2010

Today in History: November 22,1928:The first public performance of Bolero

Today is a special day for those of us who love Classical music. On November 22nd, 1928 the first performance of Ravel's Bolero occurred in Paris.

Source of this information: http://www.brainyhistory.com/days/november_22.html

Maurice Ravel lived from March 7, 1875 until December 28, 1937 and was a French composer of Impressionist music. Although Bolero certainly has grown into a piece of music which most people enjoy, in contrast Ravel himself "considered the piece trivial and once described it as "a piece for orchestra without music." Originally composed as a ballet commissioned by Russian ballerina Ida Rubenstein, the piece, which premiered in 1928, is Ravel's most famous musical composition.

"The work had its genesis in a commission from the dancer Ida Rubinstein, who asked Ravel to make an orchestral transcription of six pieces from Isaac Albéniz' set of piano pieces, Iberia. While working on the transcription, Ravel was informed that the movements had already been orchestrated by Spanish conductor Enrique Arbós, and that copyright law prevented any other arrangement from being made. When Arbós heard of this, he said he would happily waive his rights and allow Ravel to orchestrate the pieces. However Ravel changed his mind and decided initially to orchestrate one of his own previously-written works. He then changed his mind again and decided to write a completely new piece based on the musical form and Spanish dance called bolero. While on vacation at St Jean-de-Luz, Ravel went to the piano and played a melody with one finger to his friend Gustave Samazeuilh, saying "Don't you think this theme has an insistent quality? I'm going to try and repeat it a number of times without any development, gradually increasing the orchestra as best I can." This piece was initially called Fandango, but its title was soon changed to "Boléro"." (source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bol%C3%A9ro

A Hollywood film titled Bolero (1934), starring Carole Lombard and George Raft, made major use of the theme in Ravel

Source of this information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Ravel



It is interesting to note that the word "Bolero" "is a name given to certain slow-tempo latin music and its associated dance and song. There are Spanish and Cuban forms, which are both significant, and which have separate origins. The term is also used for some art music. In all its forms, the bolero has been popular for over a century, and still is today." (source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolero ) To learn more about this work of music (including a discussion of the first performance of the piece please click on the link I placed before this sentence.

 Here is a performance of this work, I found on Youtube: This performance is conducted by
Christoph Eschenbach  with the orchestra being the Orchestre de Paris and took place on November 5,2007.
The performance requires you first listen to the top video and then the  bottom one:

I hope you enjoy this performance:



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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.