My sister joined for me and this was one of the ones she picked. Mary Jane had a green record player from college that could play 33 1/3rds and in the evenings when everyone was out, I used to haul it out of her room (secretly of course as it was "do not touch it or I'll kill you") to the living room and listen to this same record until the grooves wore out. I still have it 60 years later.
Side One had Escales as the opener and side two closed with Bolero. I like the other pieces but they were mostly in my 7 year old mind, "fly over" tracks. The meat was always, for me, Bolero. Now if you want a sampling of turn of the century French musical thought, this is still the perfect album.
|Ida Rubenstein/Gustave Samazeuilh concept|
A scenario by Rubinstein and Nijinska was printed in the program for the premiere:
"Inside a tavern in Spain, people dance beneath the brass lamp hung from the ceiling. [In response] to the cheers to join in, the female dancer has leapt onto the long table and her steps become more and more animated".
Ravel himself, however, had a different conception of the work: his preferred stage design was of an open-air setting with a factory in the background, reflecting the mechanical nature of the music".
Anyway, I never tire of the piece and to this day I find new performances and always find it fresh. Here is, perhaps, the freshest I've ever heard - but there is always tomorrow.