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Poll: Best Ballet Composer

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Poll: Poll: Best Ballet Composer (0 member(s) have cast votes)

Poll: Best Ballet Composer

  1. Copland (1 votes [1.64%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.64%

  2. Delibes (8 votes [13.11%])

    Percentage of vote: 13.11%

  3. Glazunov (2 votes [3.28%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.28%

  4. Minkus (10 votes [16.39%])

    Percentage of vote: 16.39%

  5. Prokofiev (17 votes [27.87%])

    Percentage of vote: 27.87%

  6. Stravinsky (23 votes [37.70%])

    Percentage of vote: 37.70%


#1 Ari


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Posted 08 April 2002 - 06:00 AM

Who do you think is the best composer of ballet music? (I'm talking about scores specifically written for dance.) Since I think most of us would vote for Tschaikovsky, I've left him out. :) But after him, who would you vote for?

Since we're limited to six choices in a poll, I haven't had room for "Other," but if you think that someone not on the list is best, please name him and explain why in a post. And the rest of you who do vote, please tell us why you voted as you did.

#2 ScottieGDE13



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Posted 08 April 2002 - 01:48 PM

I voted Prokofiev for a couple reasons. Most of my exposure to full-length ballets has been through dancing in them! I've only done four full-lengths with the civic company I'm in but two of those have been Prokofiev: Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet. I love Prokofiev because he shows so much emotion in his music. Taking R&J as an example, think about the village scenes. Very different from the regal sounding of the Capulet's party and the great passion and beauty in the balcony scene. Also, He uses a different mix of instruments than most composers. A lot of composers in ballets it often seems to me use a quite predictable and "normal" blend of sounds. But Prokofiev, I think, uses and blends different instruments in different parts of the score in different ways than most. Think of Delibes' Coppelia. It's a beautiful score, but other than the toyshop scene, I don't think there is any variation in the way the music sounds. Whereas in Prokofiev scores each piece of music for each section of the ballet is singular and extremely unique. Best example: the four seasonal fairies in Cinderella. Each season has its own sound and personality. Also, Prokofiev's use of meter is so different from typical ballet music. Rather than using the ubiquitous 3/4 or 4/4 his scores are filled with pieces that go from 3/4 to something else that is nearly impossible to count to 4/4 to 10/4, etc. It is difficult to dance to but it makes the choreography more interesting!

I guess I tend to go with the atypical example. I don't know if Prokofiev is the "best ballet composer" but he's my favorite.
Great Topic!

#3 Tancos



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Posted 08 April 2002 - 02:08 PM

Stravinsky is the easy winner here for me, and he would still be even if Tchaikovsky were included in the poll. Other composers may be more tuneful or easier to get into, but his combination of intellect and power is unrivaled in ballet.

If the next poll is "who is the worst composer of a ballet still performed?" I think I know who'd win.

#4 Morris Neighbor

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Posted 08 April 2002 - 04:27 PM

Minkus seems out of place to me. I can think of any number of composers I'd rank above him, from Shostakovich to Satie to Donald York.

In any event, Stravinsky tops my list simply because the composer's wonderful sense of rhythm makes the spirit of dance part of all his music, even in styles as varied as The Fairy's Kiss and Agon.

#5 Mel Johnson

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Posted 08 April 2002 - 05:21 PM

But for sheer serviceability, I'm going to put in a good word for Uncle Ludwig - not that Uncle Ludwig, the other Uncle Ludwig. But only if he gets to bring his pigeonhole desk along!;)

#6 Melissa


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Posted 08 April 2002 - 06:14 PM

My vote goes to Prokofiev because his scores have the drama and rich melodism that is essential in a ballet score. 'R&J' is a masterpiece in which the music propels the story and captures the mood of the play perfectly. 'Cinderella', though a very different score, has the same dramatic effect and perfect fairytale mood essential to the story.

#7 LaFilleMalGardee



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Posted 08 April 2002 - 06:42 PM

[font="courier new"]I voted for Stravinsky[/font]

#8 dmdance



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Posted 09 April 2002 - 07:47 AM

I know that I am in the minority here, but I vote for Minkus. There are many wonderful qualities and pieces from all the composers; therefore, I found it to be a difficult decision. In the end, there is nothing of Minkus that I dislike, but I can think of a few moments of Prokofiev that hurt my ears a bit. Only a few, mind you.
My vote extends only to ballet music and this poll. Overall, I believe the best composer was JS Bach. I can hardly wrap my mind around the idea that he was even human - his music so moves me. Every note is so unpredictable and yet so inevitable at the same time. I know that's a bit off topic, but I had to mention him.:)

#9 atm711


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Posted 09 April 2002 - 10:28 AM

I think I am more in the minority than you, dmdance! I voted for Copland. I did so, because I never tire of listening to his scores, and they are frequently played on the radio. I never find him trite. There is a clean, lyricism in his style and it always sounds new to me.

#10 CygneDanois



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Posted 09 April 2002 - 11:05 AM

In musical terms, I would say that Mozart was the best ballet composer, but he only wrote one ballet, and it is no longer performed. I voted for Minkus because he provided the music for some of the greatest and most enduring classics: Don Quixote, La Bayadere, and Paquita, among others.

#11 Estelle


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Posted 09 April 2002 - 12:59 PM

Hi CygneDanois, it's great to see that you're back! :)

I voted for Stravinsky, because he wrote so many scores for 20th century masterpieces, with such a diverse range.

#12 Henrik



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Posted 10 April 2002 - 09:37 AM

Stravinsky is wonterful, but so are Romeo and Juliet.. hard one...
I think I just dont vote... if I cant vote for more htan one... :)

#13 Paul Parish

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Posted 13 April 2002 - 05:56 PM

Minkus feels really good to dance to -- though I find some of his music as ugly as Prokofieff's (the entrance of the Brahmans, in Bayadere Act I, is just hideous, and there's not even a good reason for it to be so blatty -- whereas the way Prokofieff piles up dissonances to express the duke's wrath DOES correspond to the sight of dead bodies in hte street.....)

OF hte composers NOT on hte list, I'd have to say that Bach is very danceable, Mozart is not -- Concerto Barocco is proof, but even in class, the well-tempered clavier preludes are almost all based on dance forms and feel great to dance to -- as dancey as Strauss polkas...

It takes a good pianist to make Bach FIT classroom combinations, though, for his music is not in standard 4's and 8's -- though it doesn't sound unbalanced, it is not square at all --

One of the pianists where I take class does wizard things with Bach -- I have a CD of his I use to give myself a barre at home,
it's a good alternative to Lynn Stanford -- and it's because the rhythms are right and hte music is dansante in its conception.

Actually, Rudi's CD is great -- i'll give him a plug. Our teachers use it a lot when a pianist can't make it, and the grand allegros are great. You can get it from the Capezio stores in Oakland and SanFrancisco..... Rudy Apffel

Also Stravinsky -- it's amazing how danceable his music is ,and how -- even when it sounds strange -- how strong hte SPIRIT is in it. I just got home from the ballet, and the last piece on hte program was kind of a spoof of socialites in the audience -- it's called Black Cake, and is in modern evening dress, good-looking black dresses and high heels for hte ladies -- and it had a big funny pas de deux to Stravinsky's Scherzo a la Russe -- which sounded a lot in places like music from Petrouchka, and the couple dancing were a lot like puppets, droll, sad-funny, and Yuri Possokhov actually reminded me of Petrouchka, sort of irrepressible and kicked-around at the same time, unstoppable.... It was raucous, but it was perfect music for dancing........

#14 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 13 April 2002 - 09:11 PM

Originally posted by Paul Parish

OF the composers NOT on the list, I'd have to say that Bach is very danceable, Mozart is not -- Concerto Barocco is proof

Gosh, and Divertimento No. 15 isn't? ;)

In all seriousness, I think that even when the composer is long dead, there is a partnership between the choreographer and composer, and it's that suitability that we judge, thinking we're only looking at the composer. Balanchine pronounced Beethoven unchoreographable, and for him, indeed it was, his heaviness was completely unsuited to Balanchine, ditto Les Noces, another piece Balanchine said was unchoreographable.

#15 Paul Parish

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Posted 14 April 2002 - 08:45 AM

I take it back, Divertimento is -- well, I've only seen it once, and it wasn't an inspoired performance, the variations were so-so, except for Stacey Cadell, who was fantastic -- but I believe everybody...........

Mozart is fantastically singable..... and whistleable, I used to whistle hte little ordeal-march from hte MAgic Flute when I'd go for lte-night walks, it would attract dogs, they'd lik,e to walk with me, and then I'd feel safe........... but he doesn't make ME want to dance so much as sing.....

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