Ballets by Arvo Pärt?
Posted 11 May 2001 - 08:44 PM
I'm sorry to be such a pill with my questions about random composers! I suppose I should get my own ballet encyclopedia, but frankly, it's just not in the budget at the moment! Anyway, here's my question. I'm wondering if any of you know of ballets to the music of the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt? (he is no longer living in Estonia--has been in Germany for quite a few years.) I really like some of his music and think it could make for some wonderful dance. In particular, I'm thinking (at the moment) of his piece "Fratres"--I forget what the original ensemble was, but various people have since arranged it for everything from string orchestra to string quartet to eight cellos to wind octet to...! Perchance, somewhere along the line, a choreographer has found inspiration in one of those versions? If you know anything, let me know! (I was dancing around a bit with it earlier this evening...blush...)
Posted 11 May 2001 - 09:22 PM
Posted 11 May 2001 - 09:27 PM
There are way too many dances with music to Arvo Part. In fact, I admit in a lecture I gave to college students I gave a few simple rules of choreography, one of which was "No Part, no Gorecki, no Glass, no Piazzolla. Because I said so. They are all overused. You have a duty to look beyond the top shelf of the CD rack."
Posted 12 May 2001 - 02:42 PM
Posted 17 May 2001 - 11:26 AM
Posted 20 May 2001 - 12:36 PM
There would have been no "Deuce Coupe" for Joffrey ballet if Twyla Tharp had used only music that one might ordinarily associate with ballet. Or "Stars and Stripes" for NYCB without Sousa's ever so accesible and popular band music. No "Esplanade" for Paul Taylor if he thought he couldn't violate Balanchine's first dibs on Bach's Double Violin Concerto. Perhaps music choices depend on how accomplished or skilled the artist using it is.
Posted 20 May 2001 - 01:41 PM
Remember Pachelbel's "Canon in D?" Maybe this is just a D.C. story -- it was used in the "To Fly" exhibit at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and became hugely popular. One classical music store (there were such things in the 1980s) actually had a big sign that said, "Yes, this is the one you thrilled to at the Air and Space Museum."
Everybody choreographed it. Everybody. Greg Reynolds actually choregraphed it TWICE and did both pieces on the same program. (One, which I will never forget, was "The Passion According to Mary" where Greg danced the role of Mary. It was not unforgettable for good reasons )
It was done so much, it became a local joke. Which doesn't mean that someone couldn't make a great ballet to that "Canon."
I think choreographers made a beeline for Part, Gorecki and Glass because they're danceable and for such a long time, serious music, concert music, had lost its dance impulse. More composers, please Or, as Leigh suggests, "You have a duty to look beyond the top shelf of the CD rack." There is new music being written, and there are music companies that specialize in it. One of the pleasures of ballet was that one could hear new music -- over and over, because of repertory repetitions, not just once at a "New Now" concert.
Posted 20 May 2001 - 02:36 PM
Posted 21 May 2001 - 01:03 PM
I've used "fratres" for a work I did for Ballet Pacifica. The work was a success, but I was not satisfied. I didn't feel like I had fulfilled the emothional content of the music adequately.
I've used Gorecki, too. That work, on the other hand, satisfied me, and I have a hard time looking at other works to the same music since then.
Posted 21 May 2001 - 07:11 PM
As a musician, I say a great big AMEN to that!!! When great music meets great dance, the "great unwashed" are bound to be hooked by/through one or both of them...and the better off both arts will be.
I have a friend who is working on a paper about the philosophical problems--from a musician's/music audience's standpoint--of creating ballets to symphonies. I'm surprised at how much of a fuss has been made over the "inappropriateness" of this.
But I've now wandered a long, LONG way from my initial question about Part. Thanks, Rick and others, for chiming in with your Part experiences...
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