Celibidache‏’s Ravel’s “Boléro”

by richibi

Sergiu Celibidache is the granddaddy of conductors, 
Methuselah, a patriarch, a high priest, a cardinal, 
a very ayatollah, Olympian, no less imposing on
Olympos than Zeus, god of everything, in his
majesty 
 
here he delivers the “Boléroof Ravel, I think,
definitively, at a pace that would have made the
composer, I’m sure, exultant, proud, at an imposing
longer than 22 minutes, the most extended I’ve ever
heard, it is nevertheless the most imperious, mighty,
authoritative, a wall of adamant and ritualistic sound 
put in mesmerizing motion, indeed ignited, by the 
lascivious demands of the luxurious, undulating  
bolero
 
the slower pace seems to suggest a further distance,
an incidence, by the noteworthy by, of the expression
of spatial dimension through the manipulation of sound, 
fashioned precisely here by the measured increase in
volume throughout, becoming louder as it nears, settling
in your very face at its conclusion, like an apotheosis,
massive, unflinching, remarkable
 
 
it is not uninstructive to compare for metre the two
previous “Boléro”s I mentioned, the moderate Dudamel,
the galloping Barenboim, to gauge the impact of their
choice of tempo on your preference, the one you like is
the one you’ll want to return to, leaving the other two
in the evanescent dust, no fuss, no muss, just instinct 
 
it is also instructive then to wonder why, which’ll say
much more about who you are, you’ll be surprised to
note, who you still aspire to be, than anything you
might ever have imagined
 
 
Richard
  
psst: every advance in taste, quality, comfort, could
         only have taken place ever through comparison,
         the sum of two is greater always than its meager,
         even arid, parts
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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