Choreographic poem for large orchestra La Valse

The French impressionist Maurice Ravel’s La Valse is often dubbed “Dancing on the edge of a volcano”. It is the composer’s next best-known work after Bolero, written in homage to the Viennese waltz king Johann Strauss II. La Valse is perhaps Ravel’s most unexpected composition, revealing the power and energy of Romanticism in a way that has never been seen before. The composer seems to have taken a fresh look at the genre of the waltz, which was beginning to decay in music at the time. La Valse lives on in original orchestral and piano versions. The preface to the score reads: “Through whirling clouds, waltzing couples may be faintly distinguished. The clouds gradually scatter: one sees at letter A an immense hall peopled with a whirling crowd. The stage is gradually illuminated. The light of the chandeliers bursts forth at the fortissimo letter B. Set in an imperial court, circa 1855.” The work begins with mysterious, sombre sounds, followed by fragments of waltz rhythms and melodies. The music is filled with rich and colourful chords and piquant dissonances, which develop into a radiant Viennese waltz full of glowing passages. The climax of the work reaches ecstasy, erupting like a volcano.

Ravel’s exceptional work is interpreted by the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of the famous French conductor Cyril Diederich.

PUBLISHED:  2023-04-22