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Ravel's Bolero comes under psychiatric investigation

1 September 1997 - A British study, published in today's Psychiatric Bulletin, suggests that Ravel's Bolero, reputed to be the most often played composition in the repertoire, was the work of a pathological mind. Dr Eva Cybulska, the author of the study, claims that the famous melody repeated 18 times without change during the course of the piece demonstrates that the French composer was possibly succumbing to Alzheimer's disease. The Kent-based psychiatrist claims that perseveration, an obsession with repeating words and gestures, is one of the more notable symptoms of this pathology. In other words, the repetitive nature of the score's principal theme is symptomatic of the degenerative condition which began to trouble the French composer in 1927 at the age of 52. Was it really Alzheimer's disease or the budding tumor which later killed Ravel during brain surgery in 1937? We look forward to Dr Cybulska's diagnosis of the works of minimalist composers Philip Glass, Terry Reilly and Steve Reich.

Discover Klassiknet's 101 Best recommended recording of Ravel's Bolero.
(See under 20th Century Music in France and Spain).

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