“There is a definite limit to the length of time a composer can go on writing in one dance rhythm (this limit is obviously reached by Ravel towards the end of La valse and towards the beginning of Boléro).”
Music Ho – 1934
The recent Roaring 20’s Festival of classical music by the National Arts Centre Orchestra ended with that splendid Ravelian war horse. It’s one of those pieces that you either love or hate – or perhaps love and hate – and I tend to stand firmly with the love team (though I must say there has been the odd time when I’ve hated it). It can be a real test of an orchestra, conductor and, let’s admit it the poor percussionist trapped into playing that bloody snare drum.
The long suffering player would no doubt sigh with relief if they saw this on the Wiener Cello Ensemble 5+1’s programme.
It’s interesting to see that for some reason the cello is mounting in popularity with groups such as Wiener Cello etc (their website is in German only but is fun for all that), and, I’m told, there are entire rock bands out there made up of cellos bowed, strummed, slapped and otherwise abused. But with nary a snare drum to be seen.
On this day in 1501: Ballet of Chestnuts: A banquet held by Cesare Borgia in the Papal Palace where fifty prostitutes or courtesans are in attendance for the entertainment of the guests.