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Mystery Ballet, Mystery MusicHow I Solved Two Mysteries


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#1 Eileen

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 04:17 PM

I stepped onto the welcome mat at the Wolford tights store in the Time Warner Temple to the Gods of Consumption, and two musical notes greeted me. From that moment, I was transported to a famous ballet and its music. Just two notes reminded me of entire measures of this New York City Ballet jewel, with a small "j". I will call those notes (because they work on my pitch pipe) D and A #. If you can play them on the piano, thte D is shorter than the A#, like a brisk lead in. (The A# is lower than the D.) Then leave a pause of two beats after each two notes, like an unheard echo. Play those notes twice. I fell under the spell of the mystery music that those two notes heralded. Too bad I can't write the measures down on a computer. But then the heraldic theme segued in my mind to a quick, allegro tempo, repeated many times, each repetition somehow different though the notes were the same. Perhaps it was the orchestral arrangement that made them sound different. I could picture dancing to this music, but could not remember which ballet this might be. I knew it was NYCB, that was all. A clue would be - the composer, of course. Whose music were these small snippets?

I decided Tchaikovsky was most likely.Was it Ballet Imperial? I suggested to a friend (to whom I sang the excerpts), Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 and he dismissed it immediately. But I could hear pianistic, percussive elements in my mind's ear. I bought a CD of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concertos Nos 1 and 2 led by Gergiev - and CD 2 included as filler the one movement Piano Concerto No. 3.

I half listened to the CD. I heard the last track from afar. And I knew! THIS WAS MY MUSIC! I ran to my Choreography By Balanchine volume. Piano Concerto No. 3 of Tchaikovsky was none other than the music of ALLEGRO BRILLANTE, which I must have seen and heard many times at City Ballet.

See how a trip to the tights emporium (Wolford) in the Time Warner Consumtarium at Columbus Circle could lead me back to Balanchine and Tchaikovsky. Step on the welcome mat at Wolford's, and you too will hear the first two notes of Allegro Brillante!

#2 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 01:56 AM

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#3 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 06:41 AM

Congratulations on your excellent search, your devotion and your answer!

To help call the music to mind, the interval is a minor 6th, eg, the beginning of Bei Mir Bis du Schein. (Don't blame me for the spelling).

#4 Eileen

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 06:50 AM

Every morning I am greeted by my boss who turns to my co-worker and an associate and they discuss the previous night's football game, win, lose, disaster, which players are terrible and should be traded.

Where is there someone who appreciates ballet? Who in this office would understand my epiphany from standing on the musical welcome mat at Wolford's tights store? My quest for the music in my mind? Only the readers of Ballet Alert.

I'm so glad there is a place where balletophiles can exchange information, give applause, provide insight, write reports of performances. No one in my office is in the least interested in Allegro Brillante and its brilliant music.

Thank you Cubanmiamiman, and your colleagues out there!

I just saw ViolinConcerto's response, and thank you for your kind words, much appreciated. I can hardly wait til my subscription to NYCB leads me to Allegro Brillante again this winter.


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