Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Ballet and Schubert's Great C Major SymphonySymphony numbering is confusing


  • Please log in to reply
2 replies to this topic

#1 GNicholls

GNicholls

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 51 posts

Posted 25 April 2012 - 07:59 AM

I've seen several references on Ballet Talk to Franz Schubert's "Symphony No. 7" or "Symphony No. 9." These are the same piece, also called the Great C Major Symphony and now numbered as Symphony No. 9. But older sources and some more recent ones may use "No. 7." Actually No. 7 is a symphony Schubert sketched but never wrote. No. 8 is the famous two-movement Unfinished Symphony. No 9 is the completed four-movement Great C Major Symphony.

Leonid Massine and Salvador Dali's Labyrinth (1941) was choreographed to the Great C Major, and William Forsythe's The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude (1996) to the Great C Major's last movement. Are there other ballets using this music?

Last night I heard it live on NPR (Chicago Symphony/Muti) and, having had my initiation to ballet, it almost seems to me to be an imaginary ballet. Now Wagner called Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 "the apotheosis of the dance," but I hear the Schubert Great C Major as more choreographic. I can "see" large ensemble numbers, the laendler and waltzes and endlessly inventive marches. On Saturday I heard the National Arts Centre Orchetra perform Schubert's Symphony No. 3 under Pinchas Zukerman, who commented on how tricky Schubert can be for musicians -- I think partly because of his use of syncopation both obvious and subtle, at different levels of the metre.

#2 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 25 April 2012 - 08:44 AM

Leonid Massine and Salvador Dali's Labyrinth (1941) was choreographed to the Great C Major, and William Forsythe's The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude (1996) to the Great C Major's last movement. Are there other ballets using this music?

GNicholls, I would also like to know the answer to this. I really like the Forsythe, which has been performed by many companies. It is real ballet, consciously placed within the classical ballet tradition.. On the other hand, choreography that usesthe only an allegro vivace finale is bound to come across as more limited than something that has to deal with a four-movement syimphony. (So much speed; so much energy; so much invention and wit; but not much contrast.)

Balanchine revisited Schubert's "The Wanderer" several times, but does not seem to have been attracted to his symphonies. I wonder why. He certainly must have known Schubert's work, and he was willing from time to time to choreograph to complete symphonies by other composers.

Now Wagner called Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 "the apotheosis of the dance," but I hear the Schubert Great C Major as more choreographic. I can "see" large ensemble numbers, the laendler and waltzes and endlessly inventive marches.

With apologies to Wagner, I can't imagine what Massine's choreography to the complete Beethoven 7th might have looked like.

Is there such a thing that music that is TOO danceable, in too many ways? Can music actually be too rich for choreography? That might be one reason that great choreographers, like Balanchine, tend to to avoid such pieces.

#3 GNicholls

GNicholls

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 51 posts

Posted 26 April 2012 - 01:24 PM

Bart, I think you have a good point, that though it's obviously suited to dancing and to theatrical dancing, the Great C Major Symphony may be too rich, too full of subtleties of musical metre, harmony, melody, orchestration and texture that capture our attention and emotions to be a viable ballet. Also, the complete work is very long. So I think of it as a king of imaginary ballet, with imaginary "Petipa-choreographed" large ensembles that go on and on, almost hypnotically. Continuing in the Romanticizing direction, there's the long tradition of considering Schubert's very late works as being already half way to the world beyond us, and I can't help being influenced by this tradition in musing that only divine choreography would do for this work!

At the end of the thread from 2009 below, there's a discussion about a possible DVD release of Massine's choreographed Beethoven Seventh Symphony. Does anyone know if it was released?
http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/30144-upcoming-release-from-vai/page__p__254999__hl__+massine%20+and%20+beethoven%20+symphony%20+seven__fromsearch__1#entry254999


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):