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CENT BAISERSde Basil's Ballets Russes


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#1 rg

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 08:02 AM

this card, which was acquired 2 days before Valentine's Day, strikes me as somewhat atypical of its kind - the background is either a view of the setting or an added 'graphic atmosphere' of sorts.

the postcard was sent to Streatham? England and posted on 8 Oct 1937 - its message that says (Bronislava Nijinska's) CENT BAISERS was seen by the writer the night before.

if i read the script correctly, it would seem that the writer 'goes' to 'Madame Eduardova,' again if i decipher the handwriting correctly, (who may or may not be the ex-Marysinsky dancer who emigrated to the West...) perhaps to take ballet classes.

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#2 bart

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 10:38 AM

rg, your illustrations always open so many doors to new knowledge. I'd love to learn more about this work, which appears to have been quite something.

Googling "Les Cent Baisers" turned up the following about the composer -- and also about the conducting career of Anatol Dorati, a conductor who was almost omnipresent at the popular end of the classical recording spectrum when I was a kid.

Baron Frédéric d’Erlanger (1868–1943) was a banker and a composer of sufficient talent and reputation (and, possibly, financial resources) to have a violin concerto played by Fritz Kreisler. He was a naturalized British citizen whose father was German and whose mother was American. It appears that his banking activities didn’t inhibit his composing, for he wrote a good many compositions, many of which were performed. His score for the ballet Les cent baisers made enough of an impression to be partially recorded (I assume it runs longer than 16:25) by Antal Dorati.

D’Erlanger’s musical language appears to be the late-Romanticism of the celebrated Hollywood composers. It could pass for something written earlier, and is a charming, danceable score and, possibly, the only d’Erlanger piece to be recorded.

From 1933 to 1941, Dorati shared conducting duties at the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, a descendant of Diaghilev’s celebrated Ballets Russes, with Efrem Kurtz; they must have been a formidable combination. In 1941, Dorati left to become chief conductor for (American) Ballet Theater and also contributed several arrangements that became popular ballet scores: Graduation Ball (Johann Strauss, Jr.) and two Offenbach-based delights, Bluebeard and Helen of Troy. In 1946, he took over the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and, except for recordings, left the ballet world for good and went on to become the music director of several orchestras, including those in Minneapolis, Washington, DC, and Detroit, as well as several European orchestras—not bad for someone who believed that being perceived as a ballet conductor held back his career

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#3 rg

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 08:23 AM

a Cuban-born colleague writes (and sends the attached photo) as follows, re: CENT BAISERS:

<<Your e-mail about Cent Baisers brought back so many happy memories of Havana and De Basil's Ballet Russe!!!!!.

I searched my file and found this photo of Pat (Alberto Alonso's first wife), or rather Alexandra Denisova, as she was known in the ballet world. The back of the picture gives a tentative year and place (1940, Australia). I was lucky enough to see Cent Baisers in Havana, in July 25th, 1941. De Basi's Ballet had been stuck in Cuba for 4 months due to the dancer's strike, and finally Pro-Arte Musical, the institution that at the time had at the head of the Board of Directors Alberto's mother, saved the situation when the remaining of the troupe was contracted for two performances for the Pro-Arte members, thus enabling the company to leave Cuba soon thereafter. Pat danced the lead in Cent Baisers, with Paul Petroff, Fernando Alonso (on leave from BT due to Alicia's recurring eye problem), Michel Panaieff and Serge Ismailoff also appearin in the ballet program.>>

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