“Almost 90 years after it was first performed in Paris, the copyright ran out yesterday on one of the most popular and unique pieces of classical music, Ravel’s Bolero,” reads an unsigned article in Monday’s (5/2) Straits Times (Singapore). “ ‘We are accustomed to saying that a performance of Bolero begins every 10 minutes in the world. As the work lasts 17 minutes, it is therefore playing at all times somewhere,’ said Mr. Laurent Petitgirard of France’s Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers. ‘And it is likely that we will hear it even more now, in advertisements or in films.’ Written in 1928 and performed on Nov. 22 that year at Paris’ Opera Garnier, the symphonic work … quickly became a worldwide success…. By some estimates, Bolero has generated around €50 million … in royalties since 1960…. [Ravel’s] only heir was his brother Edouard, who died in 1960, unleashing a bitter and complex legal battle over the rights, which at times has involved Edouard’s nurse and her husband, great-nephews and even a legal director of the Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers. But as of yesterday, the royalties will cease to be paid as Bolero enters the public domain.”

Posted May 2, 2016