Posted 27 December 1998 - 08:12 AM
Posted 27 December 1998 - 11:37 AM
But, since Balanchine could live without sets or costumes but kept the orchestra (with an excellent conductor, as long as he was alive), I'd trust his instincts!
Any more musically sensitive and/or aware people out there with other ideas?
Posted 27 December 1998 - 06:01 PM
Anecdote: I don't remember where I saw this, but it struck me, so here it is: (attempt at paraphrasing/recalling the correct quote) "There was this new piece which was to be danced. The lights dim. The music starts. The dancers remain in place, but their muscles contract extremely hard. The music goes on, and the dancers just stood there, the tension building, it was magnificent - almost palpable. At which point one dancers says between his/her teeth: 'You... are... playing... the... wrong... tape.' The actual piece was an anticlimax."
Has anybody heard of this?
Celia, trying hard to picture a 50 seconds version of Corsaire in her head.
Posted 28 December 1998 - 02:53 AM
When I think of taped music, I think of those "Stars of the Kirov" groups that come around: taped music, programs changed at the last minute, never knowing what dancer is going to perform. All poor planing that almost defeats the usually fine dancing.
A few seasons ago, the NYCB had a ballet to Wourinin's (I might have spelled his name wrong) two-piano transcription of an orchestral piece by Schoenberg. The two pianos were on stage. I liked the ballet very much and never missed a performance. However, the next season the costumes changed and the pianos were replaced by an orchestral version. But when I looked into the pit, it was dark. When I asked one of the information people what happened, they said I must of got two ballets confused. They were really demeaning. Well, the next time the ballet was performed a protesting member of the orchestra thrust a flyer in my hand. It said that the Schoenberg performance was the first time in the 48-plus (or so) years that NYCB used taped music. I never could understand why the company just didn't have the orchestra play the piece live. It's not as if they couldn't handle it.
Posted 28 December 1998 - 01:55 PM
The 50-second Corsaire was just the man's solo. Sorry I wasn't clear.
I'd also say that in live performance, a live orchestra matters. It's part of the electricity.
Agree wholeheartedly about the little Russian touring companies. It's especially unfortunate when they make tapes to accommodate five-minute curtain calls -- except the audience stops clapping after about 90 seconds, and there's just dead air and huffy dancers.
Posted 29 December 1998 - 10:18 AM
Regarding the taped music with pre-set intervals you were telling about, I had heard that things like that happened. I have never seen it, but I would assume that it can get pretty awkward. I also recall, and correct me if I'm wrong, that Russian dancers, amongst others, expect lengthy applause after each variation, as it is, amongst other reasons, a good way to recover.
I also agree with your and Dale's opinions on the importance of a live orchestra. I have some musical training, and I can picture how hard it would be to get the orchestra and the dancers completely in touch with each other. But when this connection is achieved, when everything is there, the result can be pure magic. For example, in Les Sylphides, Chopin's music can require a lot of rubato. And the dancers don't necessarily need to be perfectly on the beat, especially, perhaps, when the music is played rubato - sometimes, being just ahead of or just behind the music can convey more feeling. When in a ballet, there is total fusion between a top-notch orchestra and top-notch dancers, it can become absolutely magnificent.
[This message has been edited by Celia Yves (edited 12-29-98).]
Posted 29 December 1998 - 10:57 PM
The problem is, I think conditions changed a lot, russian dancers are a lot more exposed to public performances but they did not change and they still try to "milk" the applause. That can be very disturbing.
Posted 02 January 1999 - 12:15 AM
Taped music for ballet, however, is another matter. I saw a touring French company last year that used prerecorded music and it was distracting. The two piano reductions that have been mentioned can be extraordinary in the hands of talented pianists (although I prefer the pianos in the pit). Opera companies on tour sometimes use the piano reductions to some very complex works--and the music seems to be all there. Such is the magic of the theater.
The interaction, when it happens, between the pit and the stage is probably better mentioned in another thread--possibly one on the dearth of good conductors available now.
A few years ago the Louisville Opera tried what they called a virtual orchestra--some especially programmed synthesizers in the pit, run by two or three people. An idea whose time has not yet come and which I pray is not the wave of the future.
Hope everyone had a joyous holiday season and did not get Nutcrackered and Messiahed to distraction!
Posted 02 January 1999 - 02:10 AM
For example : some Forsythe works have to be performed with taped music...His ARTIFACT II, have to be performed on a particular recording of Bach's Partitat No 2, Chaconne. A live performance by a soloist violonist could destroy the work, as it was choreographed on the special nuances of a particular recording.
But I agree, a performance without live music, is missing the magic that happens when performers bound...