This is the manuscript of Maurice Ravel’s arrangement for piano duet (four hands at one piano) of his orchestral work Bolero. The manuscript was a working document, used by the editor and engraver to prepare the first printed edition.
Evidence for this process may be found throughout the manuscript, including numerous annotations and corrections in pencil to notation and phrasing, additional tempo directions, cue numbers, and occasional fingerings, also inserted in pencil. Some of these annotations appear to have been made by Ravel himself, but most are in another editorial hand and are consistent with some, though not all, of the textual alterations made to the music in the published score.
The manuscript is typically neat and fastidious, perhaps also reflecting the machine-like quality in the music. Engraver’s markings of line endings and page turns appear to have been almost completely erased from the manuscript throughout. At the top left of the opening page the words ‘1 - Manuscrit Piano 4 m.’ and ‘Maurice Ravel’ are still easily legible.
This manuscript forms part of the remarkable collection of musical and literary autographs donated to the British Library by the heirs of Stefan Zweig (1881–1942) in 1986.
- Article by:
- Jane Pritchard
- Performance and reception, Music and place, Music, politics and society, Music for stage and screen
Jane Pritchard discusses the ballet companies and their artists who were active in Paris in the early 20th century.