La Valse

 La valse, poème chorégraphique pour orchestre, is a work written by Maurice Ravel from February 1919 until 1920. It was conceived as a ballet but is now more often heard as a concert work. The work has been described as a tribute to the waltz, and the composer George Benjamin, in his analysis of La valse, summarized the ethos of the work as follows:

"Whether or not it was intended as a metaphor for the predicament of European civilization in the aftermath of the Great War, its one-movement design plots the birth, decay and destruction of a musical genre: the waltz."

However, Ravel denied that it is a reflection of post-World War I Europe, saying

"While some discover an attempt at parody, indeed caricature, others categorically see a tragic allusion in it – the end of the Second Empire, the situation in Vienna after the war, etc.... This dance may seem tragic, like any other emotion... pushed to the extreme. But one should only see in it what the music expresses: an ascending progression of sonority, to which the stage comes along to add light and movement.

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