An interesting orchestral work by composer Maurice Ravel
. Ravel, a Frenchman
, wrote this well known, Spanish influenced piece in 1928.
A basic melody (and variations on this melody) is repeated nearly 20 times during the course of the work. At first, many of the wind instruments take turns playing the melody solo. Eventually, the melody is played by ever growing groups of instruments, until, finally, the whole orchestra plays it together in a massive crescendo.
Throughout the entire piece, which is well in excess of 15 minutes long, a lone snare drum plays a single basic, repeating rhythm over and over, non-stop.
When Bolero is performed in concert, if the conductor is the sort to interact with the audience, the snare drummer's plight often leads to a cheesy joke of one sort or another, usually indicating that the snare drummer will be, at the conclusion of the piece, removed on a stretcher from exhaustion.