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Balanchine Ballet Game


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#16 puppytreats

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 12:04 AM

As balletomanes, do you find watching orchestras sufficiently entertaining, elucidating, or satisfying, in the absence of viewing a physical  interpretation through dance?

 

Did music bring you to ballet or ballet bring you to music?

 

How did you educate yourself about music?



#17 Ray

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 03:39 AM

For number 8) isn't the nod debated?

Amy I want to know more about this.  The similarity of the melody in the Act 1 dance of Nutz to one of the short Schumann pieces (Papillons?) is undeniable to me; but is Tchai. referencing Schumann, or are they both referencing a common source? 



#18 Ray

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 03:46 AM

Mozart's nod to Gluck (Making it Gluckiana instead of Mozartiana)

Schumann's nod to Clara Wieck in Davidsbundlertanze

 

Fred Allen

So by Mozart's nod to Gluck, you mean Mozart's Variations on Gluck's Unser dummer Pöbel meint in G (K.455), which Tchaikovsky in turn uses in the Thème et variations in Mozartiana, right? 

 

Here's a clip; a bit ponderous for my taste, but skillfully played by Emil Gilels:  http://www.youtube.c...h?v=S0SzXLj80jY

Does Schumann cite Clara directly in Davidsbundlertanze?  Fascinating!
 



#19 Ray

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 03:51 AM

As balletomanes, do you find watching orchestras sufficiently entertaining, elucidating, or satisfying, in the absence of viewing a physical  interpretation through dance?

 

Did music bring you to ballet or ballet bring you to music?

 

How did you educate yourself about music?

Yes--I feel no absence (if it's a really good orchestra, that is!).

Music brought me to dance.  And as much as I love dance, loved to dance, love to watch dance, many times dance to me pales in comparison to music; often I feel the composer is up to so much more in a work than a choreographer is.  No aesthetic agenda here; it's just how I feel. 

My father was a professional classical musician, so I got to hear a LOT of playing.  I also studied music as a kid (violin, piano, drums, voice), and the knowledge never left me (well, some of it did, of course). 



#20 Ray

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 03:54 AM

The real Sousa is so great when played with the original band instruments and without sappy violins, that it's criminal not to have used them, and the Kay arrangements make me want to attack him with a pitchfork.

Helene, as the son of a brass player, I couldn't agree more! 



#21 Amy Reusch

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 06:24 AM

Ray, I found this on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia....Grossvater_Tanz

"The Grossvater Tanz (Grandfather's Dance) is a German dance tune from the 17th century. It is generally considered a traditional folk tune. Its real author has been claimed to be Carl Gottlieb Hering (de) (17661853),[1] but this attribution seems not to be generally supported."

And

Robert Schumann quoted the Grossvater Tanz in two works:
- the final section of Papillons, Op. 2 (1831)
- the final section ("Marche des Davidsbündler contre les Philistins") of Carnaval, Op. 9 (183435), where he labels the theme "Thème du XVIIème siècle" (Theme from the 17th century).


And

"Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky also quotes the tune in act 1 of his ballet The Nutcracker (1892). It appears at the end of the Christmas party. Tchaikovsky was a great admirer of Schumann's music, but it is not clear whether this was meant as some sort of tribute to Schumann or simply as an appropriate tune to use in music depicting the winding up of a happy family event.[3]".



------

With which I have quoted practically half the article.

It does work nicely as a plot device... So perhaps it was a little of both... Something appropriate that easily came to mind because of Tchaikovsky's fondness of Schuman. Somewhere I read the ballet was composed under a flood of childhood memories of his sister whose death he belatedly learned of while he was abroad... Not sure where I got that info and my memory is mutable. Will see if google can help.... Yes, it appears that I did not make that bit up... But with my brief review, I find no particular source worth quoting here. I have wondered how a Russian's childhood memories would serve fir a German christmas, but as a child he had a "French nanny" he was very close to, French, but with the name Fanny Dürbach, who taught him fluency in German as well as French. Doesn't look like a French name to me. She was from here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montbéliard. This is an interesting site: http://wiki.tchaikov.../wiki/Main_Page

#22 Ray

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 07:07 AM

[...]

It does work nicely as a plot device... So perhaps it was a little of both... Something appropriate that easily came to mind because of Tchaikovsky's fondness of Schuman. Somewhere I read the ballet was composed under a flood of childhood memories of his sister whose death he belatedly learned of while he was abroad... Not sure where I got that info and my memory is mutable. Will see if google can help.... Yes, it appears that I did not make that bit up... But with my brief review, I find no particular source worth quoting here. I have wondered how a Russian's childhood memories would serve fir a German christmas, but as a child he had a "French nanny" he was very close to, French, but with the name Fanny Dürbach, who taught him fluency in German as well as French. Doesn't look like a French name to me. She was from here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montbéliard. This is an interesting site: http://wiki.tchaikov.../wiki/Main_Page

Amy, I strongly believe the German influence comes through music.  In addition to admiring Schumann, Tchai. also admired Schubert and of course Beethoven.  Musical training and repertory are very Germanic at that time too, of course; Germans are, after all, such powerful innovators in the nineteenth century.  The sobriquet for his 6th Symphony ("Pathetique") is sometimes attributed to the Beethoven sonata w/the same nickname (No 8 In C Minor Op 13); the chord progressions at the beginning of the symphony uncannily mirror those of the sonata. 

Cool Tchai. website, thanks! 



#23 Quiggin

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 09:54 AM

Did music bring you to ballet or ballet bring you to music?

 

 

Music and dance came from separate spheres for me and came together at some point. Dance does tend to trump music when I go to dance performances. Though for one performance of Stravinsky Capriccio for Rubies with the Mravinsky orchestra in 2003, the pianist (it was Sveshnikova Liudmila) was so free and wild and improvisional-sounding, I found myself looking into the orchestra pit to figure out just what was going on as much as watching the stage.

 

But Balanchine (and Helgi Tomasson, too) had the good taste to use music that didn't call attention to itself over the dance, that were perfectly matched. No Mahler, and if Beethoven, something from the Bagatelles.

 

Here's another recording of Mozart k.455 Gluck variations, with Wilhelm Kempff, somewhat subdued but he does some interesting and sly, maybe Suzanne Farrellish things to say once he gets going.

 

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=hvYYU2V6-Is



#24 sandik

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 10:05 AM

As balletomanes, do you find watching orchestras sufficiently entertaining, elucidating, or satisfying, in the absence of viewing a physical  interpretation through dance?

 

Did music bring you to ballet or ballet bring you to music?

 

How did you educate yourself about music?

For me, you've already captured the distinction.  I watch dance, but I listen to music.

 

As a critic, I don't spend too many nights in the theater that aren't dance-related, but when I'm at a music performance, I'm always struck with the idea that I don't have to watch!



#25 Ray

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 10:48 AM


Here's another recording of Mozart k.455 Gluck variations, with Wilhelm Kempff, somewhat subdued but he does some interesting and sly, maybe Suzanne Farrellish things to say once he gets going.

 

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=hvYYU2V6-Is

 

Thanks for the Kempff--love to have a variety of interpretations!

That said, though, my taste in Mozart definitely is on the original-instrument side (sometimes in watching clips of B's Divertimento #15 I find the musical interpretation painful leaden).  But this is not out of any sense of purity; I really like the way original instruments sound better for the baroque and before repertory--and I would extend that forward to Beethoven and Schubert, too.  Here's the Gluck variations on Fortepiano:



#26 pherank

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 01:21 PM

As balletomanes, do you find watching orchestras sufficiently entertaining, elucidating, or satisfying, in the absence of viewing a physical  interpretation through dance?

 

Did music bring you to ballet or ballet bring you to music?

 

How did you educate yourself about music?

 

Listening to classical music live, I tend to close my eyes and retreat into my inner 'visuals' - not so with modern musics though (I suppose watching the stage is all part of the show for Pop music).

 

I think it's fair to say I came to ballet from the music side of things - dancing was more 'alien' to me because I didn't know anyone who participated seriously in dance when I was growing up.

 

My father, and his mother and sister, were all very interested in music and play(ed) and sang music most of their lives. So I was exposed to music from an early age. I've noodled on guitar for years, and I recently started again to try to learn some piano. [And that's been an interesting, and frustrating, learning experience knowing what I already know.]



#27 Anthony_NYC

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 08:59 AM

I think the subject of the Grandfather Dance" (Großvatertanz) has been discussed here before. It basically functioned in Germany the same way "Good Night, Ladies" used to in America, as the tune that indicates to the guests that the party is over. The Stahlbaums are a German family, of course, so it's appropriate, but it also gives all the ballets characters (including the grandparents!) a chance to all dance together one last time before dispersing, now with charmingly simple formal steps that emphasize the feeling of long family tradition. It works well dramatically as well because the music then transitions nicely into that lovely fade-out music that, in Balanchine's version, segues into the middle-of-the night violin solo when all that is traditional and familiar and comfortable starts to give way to disruptive forces. I don't think any reference to Schumann was intended.



#28 Ray

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 12:27 PM

I think the subject of the Grandfather Dance" (Großvatertanz) has been discussed here before. It basically functioned in Germany the same way "Good Night, Ladies" used to in America, as the tune that indicates to the guests that the party is over. The Stahlbaums are a German family, of course, so it's appropriate, but it also gives all the ballets characters (including the grandparents!) a chance to all dance together one last time before dispersing, now with charmingly simple formal steps that emphasize the feeling of long family tradition. It works well dramatically as well because the music then transitions nicely into that lovely fade-out music that, in Balanchine's version, segues into the middle-of-the night violin solo when all that is traditional and familiar and comfortable starts to give way to disruptive forces. I don't think any reference to Schumann was intended.

Thank you, Anthony--I missed that thread, and it makes sense. 



#29 Ray

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 05:10 AM

An interesting link to baroque music, upon which Stravinsky based Pulcinella.

 



#30 Helene

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 09:51 AM

as a child he had a "French nanny" he was very close to, French, but with the name Fanny Dürbach, who taught him fluency in German as well as French. Doesn't look like a French name to me. She was from here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montbéliard.

The Wiki description of Montbéliard states it was 13km from the German-speaking Swiss border and wasn't part of France until the 1790's, after which it remained a Protestant enclave in heavily Catholic France.


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