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Barber's Adagio/Kirov


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#1 pleiades

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Posted 26 October 2003 - 06:08 PM

Last night I watched a Kirov compilation which included a ballet choreographed to Barber's Adagio for Strings. I love the music and hadn't known of any ballet set to it (probably my ignorance more than anything else!).. Are there others or is the Kirov the only one?

Is the Kirov version performed anymore? (I have to confess I didn't love the choreography which to my feeble mind seemed too stilted for the music)

#2 Mel Johnson

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Posted 26 October 2003 - 06:20 PM

There have been several settings of the score, including John Meehan's "Memory" (original title: "Lament") for the Australian Ballet. It has been produced by ABT as "Adagio for Strings". I like the other titles better.

#3 djb

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Posted 26 October 2003 - 08:06 PM

I don't know whether there are any other productions that have been viewed as widely as that Kirov video, but in the early '60s, a member of the San Francisco Ballet choreographed it for a summer choreographer's workshop, on the San Francisco Ballet. I don't know whether he ever set it on any other professional company's, but he has used it for whatever regional company he's been associated with over the years. The name of the ballet is Adagio for Ten and Two and the choreographer is Richard Gibson.

#4 djb

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Posted 26 October 2003 - 08:08 PM

Oops! I didn't see Mel Johnson's reply above before I wrote mine. Obviously there are productions that have been widely seen.

#5 Paul Parish

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Posted 26 October 2003 - 10:34 PM

It is indeed glorious music -- and it's been choreographed to a LOT.

Seems like about ten years ago I saw dances staged to it over and over -- almost never did they measure up to the music, but it's one of those curious things, this music is not jealous and is willing to share the stage very graciously with choreography that can't hold a candle to it....

The adagietto from Mahler's 5th Symphony gets used in a similar way, even more often....

#6 Helene

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 02:20 PM

Miriram Mahdaviani choreographed the music in a piece for NYCB. I believe it was part of the American Music Festival.

#7 djb

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 08:20 PM

By the way, pleiades, I agree with you about the stilted quality of Vinogradov's choreography. I attribute it to awkward transitions between poses. It looked as if the choreographer had a lot of poses in mind, and broke the feeling of a pose just to get to another pose.

#8 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 01:44 AM

Vinogradov's version of the "Adagio" from Barber was performed in the early nineties by the Kirov, even a few times on tour, but I don't think it has ever been revived since Vinogradov left in the mid-nineties.

#9 pleiades

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 08:18 AM

djb, that's exactly what bothered me about the choreography -- you put it far more articulately than me!

#10 Andrei

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Posted 14 November 2003 - 07:09 PM

Sorry, to jump in late.
Vinogradov's original choreography of this number was made for the ballet of Georgian composer Machavariani "Fighter in the tiger skin" (or something, I'm not sure about translation). When Moris Bejar saw this number, he said to Vinogradov, that the choreography is good, but the music is not, so, Vinogradov picked up Barber's adagio, changed nothing and voila! :blink:

#11 Alexandra

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Posted 14 November 2003 - 07:22 PM

Hello, Andrei -- it's wonderful to read you again! That's a great story -- it shines a whole new light on musicaliity :blink:

#12 Mel Johnson

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Posted 15 November 2003 - 05:26 AM

Sounds a little like "Le Jeune Homme et la Mort". The dancers rehearsed to jazz, a metronome, a radio tuned to a popular music station, and a drummer, and only at dress rehearsal, found out that the music for the work was Bach!

#13 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 15 November 2003 - 05:37 AM

Great story, Andrei B) . At least Béjart was right about one thing :grinning:
The accepted title in translation of this Vinogradov masterpiece is "Knight in a Tigerskin".

#14 Mel Johnson

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Posted 15 November 2003 - 05:43 AM

You know, this could start a whole new genre of ballets: A Knight at the Opera, A Knight in Casablanca, Ten Knights in a Barroom....


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