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A selection of music by Maurice Ravel.


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#16 Mel Johnson

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Posted 07 September 2001 - 06:26 AM

Back to "Daphnis" for a short observation: Ravel's score seems to have been influenced by the same sort of "motor" theory of composition that was championed in the 1920s by the great theoretician/teacher Nadia Boulanger, who influenced Prokofiev and Copland into using it. The individual "numbers" in the score have a tendency to go on and on, sometimes passing from one to the next apparently without pause. It can (but it doesn't have to) make a musical work difficult to choreograph.

#17 Richard Jones

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Posted 17 September 2001 - 01:43 PM

The tendency of the various sections of Daphnis and Chloe to flow one into another reflects Ravel’s description of the music; he insisted on calling it a ‘choreographic symphony’. Likewise, ‘La Valse’ is described as a ‘poeme choregraphique’. La Valse was played in 1920, but not choreographed till 1928 (by Nijinska for Ida Rubinstein). For the record, Daphnis & Chloe was composed 1909-12, and produced in Paris in 1912 then London in 1914; the suites were made in 1911 and 1913. I saw the Ashton version in 1975, with Wayne Sleep as Bryaxis, the pirate chief; he enjoyed that! Sibley and Dowell played the title roles. Regarding the re-designed production (which I saw at a schools’ matinee a few years ago) I happened to be doing a course at the ROH (on opera in schools) when the new designs were being debated. We had a talk from the production manager who seemed to be having a hard job bringing it in on budget because of the idea of using a vast blue roller at the back of the set, revolving slowly towards the audience, to give the illusion of the waves of the sea lapping on the shore.

Regarding the Skibine version, I've seen a photograph of this, featuring George Skibine and his wife Marjorie Tallchief as D and C. The info says she was at POB from 57-62.

It seems that this great score has been mothballed by the ballet companies; time for a revival somewhere!


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