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Shorter Piano Duet of Ravel's "Bolero" Finds The Same Passion As Its Bigger Brother (review)

The Ravel's "Bolero" you likely know is 13 or 14 minutes long. More instruments. In fact, on the album this duet comes from, the Boston Symphony Orchestra version has recorded at 13:51. However, Jacques Fray and Mario Braggiotti discover that 3:30 works perfectly well. It captures the essence of the original, but, on its own, brings its own gravity.

It misses the massive power felt at the end of the full orchestra version, but it grabs all of the subtlety. Two pianos find each other, building intensity, leading to what Ravel himself called, "one very long, gradual crescendo" all will remember.

The longer piece is well-known thanks to the movie 10 and in the 1984 Winter Olympics when skaters Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean won the gold in historic style with it.

Ordinarily associated with dance and romance, I used the Fray and Braggiotti as a backdrop to "Golgotha: Shadowing Steps: A Tragedy," a spoken word video, the story of a man searching for God in his last moments as he is about to be executed. Concretely and completely a different kind of passion, but the flexibility of "Bolero" is exactly that.

I fully recommend the piano duet of Ravel's "Bolero" by Jacques Fray and Mario Braggiotti.

Anthony Trendl

Bolero, as conducted by Andre Rieu
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