Poll: Best Ballet Composer
Posted 14 April 2002 - 09:44 AM
I'd also nominate J.P.E. Hartmann, whose work is barely known outside of Denmark, as an excellent composer of ballets. He's somewhere between Delibes and Tchaikovsky. Not in quality -- I'm not attempting to rank -- but on the light-dark/deep scale.
Posted 14 April 2002 - 03:16 PM
Posted 15 April 2002 - 12:55 AM
Ari originally specified "scores specifically written for dance," which obviously excludes works like "Concerto Barocco" and "Divertimento #15." On the other hand, it limits consideration of Prokofiev to "Romeo and Juliet" which is a wonderful piece of music, but one that ties the hands of any choreographer. His Violin Concerto inspired Robbins' "Opus 19: The Dreamer," and "Peter and the Wolf" has also been turned into ballets by several choreographers.
Thanks largely to the influence of Balanchine, most American ballet today is based on music (as opposed to the narrative, theatrical, and visual sources preferred in Europe). Young choreographers are more likely to seek inspiration in a record store than in a museum or theatre. In this context, it might be more interesting to ask members to select a composer whose music has inspired the most interesting dance, rather than rank narrowly-defined "dance composers."
Posted 25 April 2002 - 04:46 PM
I feel the same about Mozart as Paul, interestingly enough. This is probably because somewhere in the back of my head I remember hearing a story about how Balanchine felt that his music was "perfect" and that he would not be able to do it justice with choreography. Divertimento #15 was considered "lesser" Mozart- if you can believe that. I find that music sublime. Anyway- forgive me if my memory is faulty about the story- but I have heard this somewhere.
Posted 05 May 2002 - 07:32 PM
I too find this Divertimento sublime (at its best, in the adagio); and Taper, Balanchine's biographer, writes that Balanchine was "in a kind of rapture" about this music at Caracole's premiere.
Nevertheless, my vote is for Stravinsky - another admirer of Mozart's music, BTW - for the enormous range and superb quality of the scores he wrote for dancing.
Posted 08 May 2002 - 01:07 AM
Tsjaikovski is at least a name I know and not just because of Romeo and Julia Stravinsky does sound somewhat familiar. The rest, I really have no clue.
A few years back I saw a tv production of the four seasons by of course Vivaldi. It was during the new year ballet (we seem to have one each year). Though vivaldi may have been tried to boredom, I was really fascinated by the way it was presented. I am still a bit puzzled how they pulled it off. You see, both the ballet and the orchestra were on different locations. Done live, the camera switched between the orchestra and the ballet, sometimes in a mixed view, and turned it into two competitive sides. Its hard to explain, but I was really amazed. Of course I know little of ballet (i know the five positions and plié, demi-plié, relevé and balancé but thats as far as my knowledge goes. Oh, and of course the arabesque ), so i guess a lot will look great through my eyes
Though Mahler might be a bit on the weighted side, I would not mind seeing ballet on Berlioz (symphonic fantastique) for example.
Then again, I dont find it hard to imagine dancers perform on most classical music.
Posted 09 May 2002 - 11:00 PM
Don't be bashful about expressing your opinions. One of the best things about Ballet Alert is that it brings together people from many different places and backgrounds.
Tchaikovsky (as we choose to spell it here in America) is certainly a great place to start. Indeed, I might remind Jack Reed that he was the composer of the Mozartiana suite, based on themes written by the master of Salzburg.
Vivaldi and other baroque composers - Corelli, Bach, Handel - have inspired many ballets with their clear structure and firm rhythms. But very famous works, like Vivaldi's "Four Seasons," are usually avoided, since an audience is likely to bring so many prior associations to the music that a choreographer has a hard time presenting his or her own interpretation.
For instance, the American choreographer Mark Morris had long talked about his desire to choreograph the "Four Seasons." But when he finally had the chance to stage an evening-length Baroque ballet - in Brussells, by the way - he chose a much less familiar work, Handel's "L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, ed Il Moderato," inspired by the poetry of John Milton. It was (and remains) a marvelous ballet.
If you don't see much contemporary dance in your town, you might check out a local video store. The range of works now available on tape is quite impressive.
Posted 10 May 2002 - 02:48 AM
I have seen only a few ballet, most are welknown. It is somewhat strange to see that known ballets can be performed over again, yet when famous pieces of music are involved things seem to be different?
You speak of association... this somehow reminds me of another thread where people booed certain performers of stage because that role 'belonged' to someone else. Do we not have that same problem when we go to the same ballets performed by different companies? Or do most choose the ballet performed by the lead cast?
We have a small theatre in our small fishing town, and I unfortunately missed the Arabic Nights last month due to illness. There are not many shows, I cannot even subscribe to ballet (just to plays, music/concerts, and other variety). I also do not have a vcr , and there isn't much out on dvd yet, but who knows!
All is not yet lost though. I keep track of our national ballet, scapino and others so I am certain I will get to see at least a few decent performances this year I am in the process of turning my husband into a ballet lover too, and when that happens my chances to see something will greatly improve. If he enjoys watching clumsy old me, I am certain he loves to watch the pros.
Posted 10 May 2002 - 08:56 AM
I am so impressed that you can write in a language that is not your native language..... very few Americans can do that. I can (sort of) read French and German, but if i had to , or wanted to, write out what I think , or how I feel, about a ballet in either of those languages, it would be SUCH a difficult task, I think I would give up and go to bed instead....
Your thoughts about new ballets that are set to familiar music are interesting -- of course, you are RIGHT, of course, people are often attached to the ballets they already know. THe ballerina Alicia Alonzo has written that when she first began to dance GIselle, she danced the role almost exactly as Alicia Markova had done it, so as not to disappoint people who already loved the ballet and knew it through Markova's interpretation....
We have a ballet to Vivaldi's 4 Seasons here at San FRancisco Ballet, by Helgi TOmasson -- it is not one of his better ballets, and one problem with it is that the movement is not as loveable as the music --
MArk Morris was very wise to set the unfamiliar oratorio lAllegro, il Penseroso, ed il MOderato -- his ballet is in fact a VERY great ballet -- I was talking to Bernard Taper about it yesterday -- Taper wrote that excellent biography of BAlanchine -- and he thinks l'Allegro is the best full-length ballet of the 20th century....... and it certainly HELPED Morris that the wonderful music was not well-known already and "needed" dancing to fill it out......
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