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Ocean's KingdomMartins, McCartney and McCarney at NYCB


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#31 puppytreats

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 03:31 PM


Abatt. In your opinion, does this work have legs (in the sense of remaining in the repertory after the publicity has passed)? Will new audiences, attracted to a pleasant McCartney score and elaborate costuming, stick around to experience more serious work?

I ask partly because I am still befuddled by Miami City Ballet's investment a few years in a costly, elaborate and much-hyped Elvis Costello/ Twyla Tharp work which went nowhere and which, it's my guess, will not return.


Your question could start an interesting thread. Is "pop" music suitable to ballet? What should come first? The music or the dance? What are some examples of successful ballets done to pop scores? Who has or could in the future write a great pop score? Can great choreography transcend and enrich a pop score? Is Gershwin a "pop" composer? What about Mozart?

What happened with the Pet Shop Boys' ballet?

#32 dirac

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 04:44 PM

I like "Rhapsody" because it seems so evocative of its era, despite its structural flaws. Comparing Gershwin's efforts with McCartney's seems a bit apples-and-oranges to me, although the two have been compared. McCartney came to classical music very late and his ambitions in the form (and the degree of his gift in it) are nothing like Gershwin's IMO. McCartney passed his peak some time ago but he still manages to come up with a good tune or two even on his most dismal efforts in my experience, although I haven't heard his last couple of albums, and one gives him credit for his unflagging energy.

McCartney's "classical" music strikes me as what was once called "semi-classical," with elements of pastiche.


I agree.

#33 Paul Parish

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 06:39 PM



Abatt. In your opinion, does this work have legs (in the sense of remaining in the repertory after the publicity has passed)? Will new audiences, attracted to a pleasant McCartney score and elaborate costuming, stick around to experience more serious work?

I ask partly because I am still befuddled by Miami City Ballet's investment a few years in a costly, elaborate and much-hyped Elvis Costello/ Twyla Tharp work which went nowhere and which, it's my guess, will not return.


Your question could start an interesting thread. Is "pop" music suitable to ballet? What should come first? The music or the dance? What are some examples of successful ballets done to pop scores? Who has or could in the future write a great pop score? Can great choreography transcend and enrich a pop score? Is Gershwin a "pop" composer? What about Mozart?

What happened with the Pet Shop Boys' ballet?



#34 Paul Parish

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 06:40 PM

You should start that thread. The first examples that come to mind, of GOOD ballets to popular music, are "Who Cares?" and "Company B." Both of which are IMHO wonderful ballets.

#35 miliosr

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 03:31 AM

Bombs away!

Tobi Tobias gives it a pan:

http://www.artsjourn..._the_water.html

#36 bart

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 01:39 PM

Couldn't get that Tobias link to work. Try this blog entry of 9/24/11:

http://www.artsjournal.com/tobias


Continuing our discussion of McCartney's music, this is what Tobias writes:

When it comes to classical-music credits on his résumé, McCartney's been there and done that for nearly a decade. Nevertheless, his score for Ocean runs the gamut from movie music to faux-Broadway. [ ... ]
The pre-curtain efforts of the City Ballet's chief music man Fayçal Karoui and his orchestra to make a case for the score were well brought off but unconvincing. The little teaching session served to fill in time because, I'm told, McCartney refused to have any other ballet share the gala opening-night program, (not even Balanchine's Union Jack, which was originally scheduled).



#37 carbro

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 03:10 PM

Interesting, old Peter Martins quote from when he was a baby ballet-master-in-chief. Perhaps Ocean's Kingdom gets a pass, since its score is a serious composition. :dry:

http://www.nytimes.c...t-s-daddy.html?

There will be ''no ballets to the Beach Boys'' or other rock music by guest choreographers, if any, at the City Ballet. Unlike those who say Balanchine ballets must be preserved intact, he feels they should be danced differently in 10 years in order to survive and hopes to supervise this stylistic change.


Apologies to those who are not paying to subscribe and cannot access NYTimes.com's archive.
For clarification, the text in the quote box is Kisselgoff's. Within the quote marks " " are Martins' words.

#38 justafan

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 03:38 PM

I don't know. I saw Ocean's Kingdom today and thought McCauley was pretty much on the mark -- and I generally think he's a bit hard on both Martins and many of the dancers. I was surprised at how much I liked the music. The choreography, on the hand, was dull. Not horrendous but it really dragged. And there were not nearly enough steps -- just lots and lots of lifts and turns. I'm not a fan of most of Martin's choreography but he can do and has done better than this -- he should have really put more effort into it.

#39 dirac

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 09:29 PM

Interesting, old Peter Martins quote from when he was a baby ballet-master-in-chief. Perhaps Ocean's Kingdom gets a pass, since its score is a serious composition. :dry:

http://www.nytimes.c...t-s-daddy.html?

There will be ''no ballets to the Beach Boys'' or other rock music by guest choreographers, if any, at the City Ballet. Unlike those who say Balanchine ballets must be preserved intact, he feels they should be danced differently in 10 years in order to survive and hopes to supervise this stylistic change.


I don't see any contradiction. McCartney does have a track record in orchestral work even if he is not a true classical composer, and it's not as if the ballet was made to taped music from The Beatles or Wings.

I was surprised at how much I liked the music.


The critics have also been kinder than one might have expected, in general.

#40 Quiggin

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 10:40 PM

Financial Times gives it two stars out of five possible:

By the third delirious duet, I might as well have been trapped in a subway car opposite smooching teenagers, I was so desperate to look at something else.


Regarding Gershwin's significance as a composer, Arnold Schoenberg gives a touching eulogy on this clip via Terry Teachout's blog.

Gershwin films Schoenberg

#41 miliosr

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 02:29 PM

As always, New York Social Diary is on the case at the gala:

http://www.newyorkso...om/node/1907475

In the curtain call photo, is that Daniel Ulbricht in the clown wig? If so, poor unfortunate -- greatly to be pitied.

#42 abatt

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 05:42 AM

Yes, that is Ulbricht in the clown wig. He should get bonus pay for all of the hideous costumes he has been required to wear this month. (His attire for the Jester role in Swan Lake is also awful.)

#43 Eileen

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 07:07 AM

As always, New York Social Diary is on the case at the gala:

http://www.newyorkso...om/node/1907475

In the curtain call photo, is that Daniel Ulbricht in the clown wig? If so, poor unfortunate -- greatly to be pitied.


The first photo of NY Social Diary is captioned: Stella McCartney and NYC Ballet Dancers (all wearing Stella McCartney)
Why didn't they mention that the dancers are almost all principals and are Wendy, Ashley, Teresa, dancer with curls on head who I recognize but can't place, Maria, and Georgina. Can anyone name the dancer next to Stella on our right?

#44 abatt

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 07:36 AM

Eileen, it is Janie Taylor. Her hairdo looked a lot better in person that it does in the photo.

#45 Juliane

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 07:37 AM

I believe that is Janie Taylor.


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