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Mariinsky Symphony in C on YouTubeA complete Symphony in C - while it lasts


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#16 Hans

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 02:12 PM

Jack, I saw NYCB dance Symphony in C several years ago at NYST and more recently here at the Kennedy Center with Abi Stafford, Wendy Whelan, Sterling Hyltin, and Ashley Bouder.

I think it is interesting to read about dancers not being supposed to act in Balanchine because it appears to me that NYCB does it all the time. During NYCB's latest visit to DC, I actually had to stifle laughter throughout a good bit of the performance as the acting was so overdone, especially in Serenade (which is pretty melodramatic even without added acting). This particular video is not clear enough for me to compare, but generally I find the Maryinsky to be pretty restrained as far as that sort of thing goes.

#17 Quiggin

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 02:30 PM

Excellent post, popularlibrary, especially

emptiness, gesture as poetry, non-explanation


I think Darci Kistler says somewhere "You're in love with your partner / you never look at your partner." The pas de deuxs in Balanchine--especially in Stravinsky Violin Concerto--are mostly really dual monologues. That's why I--I know I'm really in the minority on this--find it so hard to watch the Paris Opera Ballet Jewels; it's nuanced out with coy looks and extra gestures and extra elasticity (with the exception of the great solos in Emeralds). Balanchine should be sharp and full of shifting planes. He's a high cubist, by way of Braque of 1911 and Tatlin and Constructivism.

I did enjoy the couple (I couldn't really make out what the corps were doing) in the third movement of the Kirov hand-held Symphony in C, sort of in tandem, Gene Kelly/Fred Astaire-ish for a stretch.

#18 popularlibrary

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 03:00 PM

Excellent post, popularlibrary, especilly

emptiness, gesture as poetry, non-explanation


...That's why I--I know I'm really in the minority on this--find it so hard to watch the Paris Opera Ballet Jewels; it's nuanced out with coy looks and extra gestures and extra elasticity (with the exception of the great solos in Emeralds).


Much thanks, Quiggin! I do find it hard to write about this sort of thing without sinking into babbling obscurity!

As for the POB Jewels, dearly as I love the company I have to agree with you that it's not their happiest hour. Or maybe that's the trouble with it - far too light, bright and sparkling, with very little of the necessary weight or drama.

And for Hans - I'm sorry to say that the current NYCB seems to have traveled light years away from the company as it was under Balanchine's direction. In too many ways, they're no better at dancing Balanchine than the Mariinsky, RB, POB, Bolshoi, etc. - indeed, I think they're worse because they should know better.

#19 Hans

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 03:09 PM

Yes, I only started watching NYCB in 1998, so I can only comment on what's been done since then.

#20 bart

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 04:48 PM

To me, it comes down to a few principles I think mattered to Balanchine: emptiness, gesture as poetry, non-explanation. As we all know, Balanchine was a profoundly religious man, and I think there is little doubt that he applied the religious notion of emptying oneself as basic to dancing his work. The Mariinsky, and other companies, tend to look at a role as either becoming someone else or imposing your own personality, putting on all the role-defining feathers, dressing up, conquering the part. Balanchine, on the contrary, wanted his dancers to avoid all those things, to become clear, empty, naked, direct conduits to the music/steps. It is the mystic's notion that the less you have the more you are - that the inwardness you spoke of happens only when the dancer gets out of his/her own way - and out of the choreography's way.

This is very beautifully expressed, popularlibrary. Thank you so much for resopnding to my question. Although there are many critics of the way this or that company or dancer does Balanchine, there are few who are willing or able to go so deeply into why this is, for them, the case. You have given me a lot to think about.

From what I've read, Balanchine did indeed strive for "non-explanation" and did believe in the expressive sufficiency of gesture and movement per se, when talking to his dancers and explaining his performance ideal. It seems to me that he also allowed, in practice, dancers to color the role, heightening or subduing certain elements -- always within limits. I simply don't remember people talking all that much about a single, pure Balanchine performance standard, at least not when Balanchine was alive.

My impression of Lopatkina's adagio is that she is definitely "within limits." It's one of those cases in which it's best to agree to disagree. She seems to have reached into the ballet and found a spirituality and serenity that are implicit in the choreography and in the unearthly oboe music. You don't often find that. Farrell achieved a similar effect -- though at a faster tempo, which now seems even more of a miracle than it did at the time.

:helpsmilie: Can anyone tell me how to access the Ballet Imperial clips on Yahoo. I click, but only get a black screen. Does one have to register to use the site?

#21 PeggyR

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 06:14 PM

Hi Bart: I was having the same problem as you, so I just left the video running and it turns out the 'black' is actually a picture of the curtain, which has not yet gone up! Wait a while, and it's a fairly long time, maybe a quarter of that bar thing at the bottom, and everything will be OK.

Peggy

#22 carbro

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 06:23 PM

The time counter is at 9:24 (going backwards) when the curtain rises.

#23 emilienne

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 09:50 PM

(I edited this response slightly because apparently I can't conjugate verbs late at night!)

There's fragments of a Bolshoi Symphony in C floating about Youtube, focusing primarily on Alexandrova and Tsiskaridze (3'rd movement and finale). It's quite interesting to contrast the articulation of movements and tempi between the two Russian troupes. One does le Palais de Cristal and the other the Great White Abstraction (land ho!) and they could be doing two completely different ballets.

As to the acting - I recently had the pleasure of _finally_ seeing Moncion as Death. He does not act. Instead the sensuousness and brutality of Death emanates from somewhere inside of him. The most successful performers of Balanchine, I've noticed (in my extremely limited experience), have been those who have been able to draw upon aspects of their own personality to resonate within the choreography. You do not have to _be_ McBride or Farrell or Luders, but that aspect of your personality which you draw upon to perform his/her/their roles need to be in some way compatible. Sympathetic vibrations, perhaps?

Also, just wanted to note that the original clip for Mariinsky's Symphony in C is in fact _extremely_ high quality. As in, we can marvel (without squinting) at Irma Nioradze's eyebrows. Youtube has quietly added a higher quality function to most of their recent videos recently - I think all videos within the last 4-6 months or so will stream a higher quality version if you add the following command (without the inverted commas) to the end of your Youtube link: '&fmt=18'. Instead of streaming flash files, Youtube will instead serve up higher quality mp4 files - they're twice as big and two to three times as sharp.

Re-edited again to say that the ParadiseLost version is fact a repost of a lower resolution recording from user ketinoa on Youtube. The _original_ files that ketinoa posted were indeed high quality. The flash reposts are unfortunately just flash. Thank you ParadiseLost, but, alas!

#24 carbro

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 10:53 PM

To save people frustration, the Alexandrova-Tsiskaridze clip is no longer on YouTube, which is too bad, because she is simply wonderful there. It was pulled for copyright violation, no doubt, by request of The Trust.

I suspect that the Trust searches not only video websites for unauthorized postings, but probably discussion boards as well, to see if posters have found some that they've missed.

So far, though, they seem to have missed the K-M video. :helpsmilie:

Thanks much, emilienne, for the &fmt=18 hint.

#25 Paul Parish

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:39 PM

Best I've EVER liked Nioradze -- in fact , I love her phrasing in this -- eboth first and last movements, and she's dazzling in hte finale.

lopatkina can dance both slow and fast -- I really like her adagio; it has its own integrity, it's her own, and it's wonderful. Rather like Tanny's; her balances are more confident htan either Tanny's or Allegra's. maybe like Toumanova's might have been I love hte way she's moving all the time.... the slow fouettes are REALLY wonderful, and hte big develloppe is magisterial, wonderfully phrased -- and his transition from the one hand to hte other is really beautiful, too. her pivot to arabesque is magnificent and hte penchee is glorious.

Didn't make me cry, like Allegra does, but I love it anyway.

If you think she's cold, check her out in in the Night
and think again.

#26 perky

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 07:12 AM

To save people frustration, the Alexandrova-Tsiskaridze clip is no longer on YouTube, which is too bad, because she is simply wonderful there. It was pulled for copyright violation, no doubt, by request of The Trust.

I suspect that the Trust searches not only video websites for unauthorized postings, but probably discussion boards as well, to see if posters have found some that they've missed.

So far, though, they seem to have missed the K-M video. :helpsmilie:

Thanks much, emilienne, for the &fmt=18 hint.


A couple of weeks ago I typed in Suzanne Farrell on Youtube and much to my delight Afternoon Of A Faun came up with Suzanne partnered by Afshin Mofid. I was going to PM Farrell Fan the news when I returned from an errand a few hours later however by that time it was already gone!
Sorry Lou :clapping:

#27 popularlibrary

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 10:39 AM

Youtube has quietly added a higher quality function to most of their recent videos recently - I think all videos within the last 4-6 months or so will stream a higher quality version if you add the following command (without the inverted commas) to the end of your Youtube link: '&fmt=18'. Instead of streaming flash files, Youtube will instead serve up higher quality mp4 files - they're twice as big and two to three times as sharp.


OK, I'm a technological butterfingers. I tried adding the code to the end of the YouTube url, to the url for the individual video, and several other less obvious ways. None of them got me a bigger or clearer picture. Please, take pity on the maladroit. Exactly where and when do you add this code? Picture instructions and block printing would be appreciated. Thanks!

#28 emilienne

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 10:52 AM

I went back and checked on the ParadiseLost clip and it looks like a second generation copy (and here we thought the digital age would get rid of such things!), meaning that unfortunately the clip will not clear up anymore than the way it was originally posted.

However, if you try it on some other clip...(sorry for the gratuitous linking), say...a clip of Lezhnina being coached in Sleeping Beauty by Kolpakova before her debut (here)...compare to the same clip presented in higher quality here. Kolpakova's eyebrows are considerably clearer.

popularlibrary, you are most likely appending the command correctly (remember, add &fmt=18 to the END of your Youtube link), but it really depends on the quality of the clip in question. Most people upload higher quality clips to Youtube than you would think - Youtube then reconverts the clips to a lower quality to save on bandwidth.

Edited to say that Youtube has added a link at the bottom of the video screen to indicate whether you can indeed change between standard and high quality video for a particular clip. The screen icon is orange for standard quality and black for high. HOWEVER, the high quality clips are still nowhere as good as the mp4 clips that you will obtain by appending the command '&fmt=18'. :)



Youtube has quietly added a higher quality function to most of their recent videos recently - I think all videos within the last 4-6 months or so will stream a higher quality version if you add the following command (without the inverted commas) to the end of your Youtube link: '&fmt=18'. Instead of streaming flash files, Youtube will instead serve up higher quality mp4 files - they're twice as big and two to three times as sharp.


OK, I'm a technological butterfingers. I tried adding the code to the end of the YouTube url, to the url for the individual video, and several other less obvious ways. None of them got me a bigger or clearer picture. Please, take pity on the maladroit. Exactly where and when do you add this code? Picture instructions and block printing would be appreciated. Thanks!



#29 carbro

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 11:32 AM

It's quite interesting to contrast the articulation of movements and tempi between the two Russian troupes. One does le Palais de Cristal and the other the Great White Abstraction (land ho!) and they could be doing two completely different ballets.

Excuse me for picking a nit, and I don't mean to contradict your very valid point, but there are significant and obvious differences in the choreography of P de C and S in C -- notably in the second and esp. third mvts. Slower tempi and color coding are not the only distinctions between the two.

While I like the Kirov's costumes qua costumes, they don't produce the intended effect -- the stage full of color as in POB's old production -- or at least as rendered by YouTube. If K-M wanted to use color, they should have gone all the way and not diluted the picture by mixing white with the colors.

#30 bart

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 12:19 PM

Thanks, PeggyR and carbro, for your suggestions re Yahoo. I suspect my problem is bigger than that, however. I've just downloaded an update of AVG and have noticed that I seem to have been given a big more protection from the unexpected than I wanted. Just have to figure out how to get rid of the barriers I don't want and keep those I need.

I found watching Symphony in C several times to be a revelation. I can't wait until the next live performance. I hope I can access Ballet Imperial before it, too, disappears.

:) Re: the Balanchine police. I wish these people could accept that imperfect videos of the sort posted on YouTube are not likely to replace the purchase of high-qualitiy dvd's (if there WERE many of these for Balanchine) or going to the theater. Ballet lovers use them mostly as we would use sketches of a museum masterpiece. Watching them tends, if anything, to encourage purchase of the real thing. As far as young viewers are concerned, couldn't we just consider them as full-paying audiences of the future and give them a little slack right now. It's almost sickening to think that a young ballet student has the opportunity to watch an infinity of Corsaire pas de deux (many of them dreadful) while not being permitted to see high-level performances of some of the greatest art works of the 20th century.


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