Posted 05 April 2002 - 07:03 PM
As I read this string, I recall reading in various biographies that "Georges," as he was known as a child, hoped to follow in the footsteps of his father, a composer and musician to the Tsar. But he felt he had no gift for composing and dedicated himself to dance instead.
At a recent appearance before company "Friends," the new NYCB Music Director, Andrea Quinn, expressed great interest in the company's music archives. She had found no original scores by Mr. B., but noted that many piano reductions in his hand are still used in rehearsals. The late Robert Irving also knew and admired these reductions, taking special note of Mr. B's take on Charles Ives -- "a dicey endeavour," as he noted.
Balanchine may have learned a lot about piano reductions from his mentor Stravinsky. When the composer found it difficult to get symphonies to perform his work, Stravinsky wrote his own chamber reductions. At one point, he and violinist Samuel Duskin went on tour with several reductions and one original work: the Duo Concertante. He even wrote a two-piano reduction of The Rite of Spring, which Paul Taylor used for his very original take on the score.