While listening to a recording by the Modern Jazz Quartet recently, I started thinking about a 1961 Balanchine ballet in which the MJQ played (and improvised upon) a Gunther Schuller score; Modern Jazz: Variants. (Or just Variants?)
I was still a teenager, and I was really thrilled by what I took to be the extreme sophistication of the piece. It was wonderful to know that ballet could be hip, cool, technically complex, and so contemporary all at the same time.
Repertory in Review has the details about the 1961 performances. The Swope photo triggered memories of the MJQ playing from stage right. The photo also captures a quality in Diana Adams that other photos, often focusing on her adagio dancing or the intricacies of Agon, do not. She was marvellous when she let go in Variants and just had fun.
Was this ballet ever revived by NYCB? Does anyone know about whether it was filmed, even in part? Or whether the score was recorded? Has anyone else seen it?
P.S.: It's incredible to think that Balanchine was able to create in this style, to this music, only a few months after creating the very, very different Liebeslieder Walzer.
"Modern Jazz: Variants" (NYCB and Modern Jazz Quartet)any performances after the first season?
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