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Musical Scores for Midsummer Night's Dreams

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#16 Natalia


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Posted 05 July 2001 - 08:43 AM

Since the topic of this thread is '...Scores for Midsummer Night's Dreams,' and not necessarily just the Balanchine & Ashton versions...here's a bit about a more recent version.

I was pleasantly surprised with the recently-broadcasted (A&E TV in the USA) version by choreographer Heinz Spoerli for one of the German troupes (Dusseldorf, I think). The score is a blend of Mendelsohn's famous incidental music to 'Midsummer Night's Dream' with Philip Glass' intoxicating violin concerto. Very effective.

And what about the just-performed Neumeier version at POB? It is a full-evening-length ballet, so I am assuming that the score is much more than the Mendelsohn incidental music to 'Dream.' Can our POB regulars shed light on the kusic of the Neumeier version?

#17 doug


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Posted 05 July 2001 - 12:39 PM

Mussell, the BBC Orchestra recorded the music for the PNB film but it's a little too long to fit onto one CD, so I it hasn't been released at this point. I'm not aware of any other recording of the music as used in the Balanchine ballet.

#18 pnbdc


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Posted 11 July 2001 - 12:49 PM

I have been in NYC and SF, so missed a lot of postings. Doug called me about Midsummer music and orchestrations. The full orchestra is used to play the entire ballet, of course, but Sinfonia IX in C Major is the "Divertissement" coming just after the Wedding March. There is an 8 bar segue (composed by R. Irving, I believe) into the Sinfonia Nol. 9. The second movement is used, but only the first and last sections. It was choreographed at first, but Balanchine took it out. Too long, he said. The 3rd movt., is not used anymore. After the Sinfonia, which just ends, the "Son and Stranger" opus begins, the first part of which has the Divert couples exiting, and the Wedding March couples entering, with the soloists (lovers, etc.) At the conclusion of this, the incidental music (overture) returns, with Oberon and Titania, scene changes to forest, and ends with Puck sweeping the stage. I do think the ballet is masterfully conceived, and I never tire of watching (or playing it). Mr. B. did make the piano arrangement from the score for Sinfonia No. 9, (He also made the piano reduction of Mozart's Divertimento No. 15).
Have also seen Ashton's 'Dream' which is most beautiful (if shorter). Thanks, Doug for telling me about this post, and telephoning for information.

#19 pnbdc


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Posted 11 July 2001 - 12:51 PM

Sorry, forgot to include that Sinfonia No. 9 is played only by strings. (Usually the rest of the orchestra is dismissed and the strings remain to rehearse that.)

#20 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 11 July 2001 - 03:10 PM

Thank you ddianne!

Jeannie - I haven't seen the Neumeier version, but recall reading in Going to the Dance that the Mendelssohn is mixed with music by Gyorgy Ligeti. (His music was used by Stanley Kubrick at the the end of 2001 and in Eyes Wide Shut and the music from the latter film was used by Christopher Wheeldon in Polyphonia)

#21 Estelle


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Posted 11 July 2001 - 05:31 PM

Leigh, you're right: Neumeier uses some music from Mendelssohn and also some from Ligeti (and also some music played by an orgue de Barbarie- sorry, I don't know the English word for such an instrument). I don't remember which works are used exactly (and don't have the program notes at hand).
Actually, I found the parts of the ballet on Ligeti's music extremely boring (musically and choreographically).

#22 Mel Johnson

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Posted 11 July 2001 - 08:28 PM

Isn't an "orgue de Barbarie" a barrel organ?

#23 Alexandra


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Posted 11 July 2001 - 09:12 PM

In Copenhagen, they called it "hurdy-gurdy" music -- and the company made cuts in it for the same reasons Estelle mentions :)

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