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Classical Classroom

Classical Classroom, Episode 52: Inside A Boléro With Howard Pollack

Come on a musical adventure through Ravel’s Boléro. It’s perfectly safe! Probably.



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Portrait of Maurice Ravel at the piano in 1914.

Ravel's Boléro. Next to most of the soundtrack to Koyaanisqatsi, it's possibly the most repetitive piece of music ever written, amiright (respect, Philip Glass)? As it turns out, I am wrong, so wrong. In fact, Boléro is a piece built entirely around change. Howard Pollack, professor at Moores School of Music, author, lecturer, and guest on BBC specials and NPR shows like Morning Edition and Fresh Air, is our tour guide through this amazing piece of music by a very subtle and sneaky composer.

Music in this episode:

  • "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from The Nutcracker Suite by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Boléro by Maurice Ravel as performed by Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, conducted by Charles Dutoit

Audio production by Todd "Treble Clef" Hulslander with bass clef by Dacia Clay.