Decades before Maurice Ravel came along, Chopin also found inspiration in the old Spanish dance known as the Bolero, defined as “A Spanish dance and song, in moderate tempo and triple metre, popular at the end of the 18th century and throughout the 19th, often performed with guitar and castenets.” In fact, the Spanish Bolero was rythmically related to the polonaise of Chopin’s native country, and even Beethoven wrote a Bolero a solo … it’s one of his minor “without Opus” works, WoO 158.

Regardless of origin or inspiration, it’s one of Chopin’s more unusual works, dating from 1833. He tacked on an Introduction in C major that serves as an evocative attention-getter that sets up the uniquely Spanish-Polish Bolero that follows.

Xiaofeng Wu

Hear pianist Xiaofeng Wu perform Chopin’s Introduction & Bolero in A, Op. 19 in concert at the University of Michigan’s Britton Recital Hall.