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Ravel vies with Khachaturian and Rachmaninoff

For pillow talk music

Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 wins the laurels.
Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 wins the laurels.

As spring ends and summer begins, it is quite possible that love is in the air. If you’ve ever visited The San Diego Zoo at this time of year then you know that of which I speak. If you’ve not seen the action at the zoo, a Google search for “do relationships start in spring” will yield multiple scientific studies suggesting that humans tend to become more romantically inclined in spring.

Video:

Bo Derek in 10

Describes use of Ravel's <em>Bolero</em>

Describes use of Ravel's Bolero

The question is whether or not that spring romance will turn into a summer love. Of course, the right piece of music can help. Yet, I tire of discussing romantic pieces of classical music.

There’s just so much of it and it’s always so politely discussed. Believe it or not, there is a sweatier side to romantic music.

If you’re interested in music that will take a fresh spring fling into a hot and sweaty summer, then read on. We’ll take a look at a few pieces of music but only one can be the coitus maximus. I’m talking about sex.

Video:

Wiener Philharmoniker - Maurice Ravel - Bolero

Regente Gustavo Dudamel

Regente Gustavo Dudamel

The movie 10 starring Dudley Moore, Julie Andrews, and Bo Derek has some opinions on this topic so perhaps we can start there. I would imagine no one under the age of 45 has even heard of 10 but it was kind of a thing back in 1979. Bo Derek’s character explains that, “Uncle Fred said that Bolero was the most descriptive sex music ever written.”

Okay, so how about Bolero? I know people who find it to be insufferably repetitive. The nomenclature of making love is repetitive.

Video:

Aram Khachaturian — "Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia" from the ballet Spartacus

Moscow State Symphony Orchestra
Music director & Chief conductor — P. Kogan

Moscow State Symphony Orchestra Music director & Chief conductor — P. Kogan

Ravel’s music is repetitive but not. Yes, the underlying rhythm which starts the music stays intact the entire time. Yes, the tune repeats over and over. However, the dynamic of the music increases with each repetition. The tune is given to a different instrument or section of instruments each time. The number of instruments playing increases until the entire orchestra comes to a screaming conclusion.

Video:

S. Rachmaninoff. Symphony № 2. Movement 3

Moscow City Symphony - Russian Philharmonic
Conductor -- Kazuki Yamada (Japan)
Grand Hall of the Moscow State Conservatory

Moscow City Symphony - Russian Philharmonic Conductor -- Kazuki Yamada (Japan) Grand Hall of the Moscow State Conservatory

The “Adagio” from Aram Khachaturian’s ballet Spartacus and Phrygia isn’t as well known as perhaps it should be. Part of that could stem from the fact that Khachaturian was a Soviet composer who toed the company line. Sexy and Soviet don’t naturally go together in my mind but this music drips with desire, desire that is one hundred percent fulfilled by the amazing climax that almost comes out of nowhere.

The final piece and the winner of the title coitus maximus is the third movement of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2. This music wins the laurels not only because of its erotic climax but because Rachmaninoff has a second go of it later in the same movement. The climactic act is not the end. Rachmaninoff gives us some intimate pillow talk before going back for seconds.

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Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 wins the laurels.
Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 wins the laurels.

As spring ends and summer begins, it is quite possible that love is in the air. If you’ve ever visited The San Diego Zoo at this time of year then you know that of which I speak. If you’ve not seen the action at the zoo, a Google search for “do relationships start in spring” will yield multiple scientific studies suggesting that humans tend to become more romantically inclined in spring.

Video:

Bo Derek in 10

Describes use of Ravel's <em>Bolero</em>

Describes use of Ravel's Bolero

The question is whether or not that spring romance will turn into a summer love. Of course, the right piece of music can help. Yet, I tire of discussing romantic pieces of classical music.

There’s just so much of it and it’s always so politely discussed. Believe it or not, there is a sweatier side to romantic music.

If you’re interested in music that will take a fresh spring fling into a hot and sweaty summer, then read on. We’ll take a look at a few pieces of music but only one can be the coitus maximus. I’m talking about sex.

Video:

Wiener Philharmoniker - Maurice Ravel - Bolero

Regente Gustavo Dudamel

Regente Gustavo Dudamel

The movie 10 starring Dudley Moore, Julie Andrews, and Bo Derek has some opinions on this topic so perhaps we can start there. I would imagine no one under the age of 45 has even heard of 10 but it was kind of a thing back in 1979. Bo Derek’s character explains that, “Uncle Fred said that Bolero was the most descriptive sex music ever written.”

Okay, so how about Bolero? I know people who find it to be insufferably repetitive. The nomenclature of making love is repetitive.

Video:

Aram Khachaturian — "Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia" from the ballet Spartacus

Moscow State Symphony Orchestra
Music director & Chief conductor — P. Kogan

Moscow State Symphony Orchestra Music director & Chief conductor — P. Kogan

Ravel’s music is repetitive but not. Yes, the underlying rhythm which starts the music stays intact the entire time. Yes, the tune repeats over and over. However, the dynamic of the music increases with each repetition. The tune is given to a different instrument or section of instruments each time. The number of instruments playing increases until the entire orchestra comes to a screaming conclusion.

Video:

S. Rachmaninoff. Symphony № 2. Movement 3

Moscow City Symphony - Russian Philharmonic
Conductor -- Kazuki Yamada (Japan)
Grand Hall of the Moscow State Conservatory

Moscow City Symphony - Russian Philharmonic Conductor -- Kazuki Yamada (Japan) Grand Hall of the Moscow State Conservatory

The “Adagio” from Aram Khachaturian’s ballet Spartacus and Phrygia isn’t as well known as perhaps it should be. Part of that could stem from the fact that Khachaturian was a Soviet composer who toed the company line. Sexy and Soviet don’t naturally go together in my mind but this music drips with desire, desire that is one hundred percent fulfilled by the amazing climax that almost comes out of nowhere.

The final piece and the winner of the title coitus maximus is the third movement of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2. This music wins the laurels not only because of its erotic climax but because Rachmaninoff has a second go of it later in the same movement. The climactic act is not the end. Rachmaninoff gives us some intimate pillow talk before going back for seconds.

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