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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%

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#1 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.

#2 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!;)

#3 Alexandra


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Posted 14 April 2002 - 09:44 AM

What about Rossini! Anna Laerkesen, Danish ballerina turned choreographer, said in an interview, "When you hear Rossini, your feet just start moving." For a Danish ballerina, yes. I wonder if a New York or a St. Petersburg ballerina would have the same impulse?

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.

#4 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.

#5 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!

#6 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.

#7 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.

#8 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.

#9 Jack Reed

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Posted 05 May 2002 - 07:32 PM

Liebling, for finding Mozart too "perfect" for choreography, Balanchine sure tried hard, didn't he? He choreographed parts of the Divertimento in B-flat twice (Caracole and Divertimento No. 15), parts of the g-minor string quintet (Resurgence), Sinfonia Concertante twice, and Mozartiana - Mozartiana! - more than twice. So maybe what the story you heard means is that he considered his efforts inadequate to the challenge. (Farrell writes of his making the last Mozartiana, "...he found it necessary to try once more ...")

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.

#10 LaFilleMalGardee



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Posted 08 April 2002 - 06:42 PM

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

#11 leibling


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Posted 25 April 2002 - 04:46 PM

I voted for Minkus.... the ballets he wrote have been around for such a long time. In all honesty, I could have voted for Prokofiev just as easily, but I guess it seems that Minkus doesn't always get his due credit.

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.

#12 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.

#13 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.:)

#14 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.

#15 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... :)

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