Jump to content
Syzygy

Suggestions for writings on Jewels?

Recommended Posts

I'm seeing the Mariinsky in Jewels this weekend, and I *love* to brush up on my history before seeing a show. It makes it all last longer. :)

I already have chapters of Apollo's Angel's and Holding on the Air bookmarked — along with plans to re-listen to a PNB/Doug Fullington podcast. But does anyone have any other recommendations? I wish a there was a proper Balanchine biography already... 

Share this post


Link to post
24 minutes ago, Syzygy said:

I'm seeing the Mariinsky in Jewels this weekend, and I *love* to brush up on my history before seeing a show. It makes it all last longer. :)

I already have chapters of Apollo's Angel's and Holding on the Air bookmarked — along with plans to re-listen to a PNB/Doug Fullington podcast. But does anyone have any other recommendations? I wish a there was a proper Balanchine biography already... 

My go-to reference for Balanchine insights is Nancy Goldner's Balanchine Variations. Jewels is in this one: 

https://www.amazon.com/Balanchine-Variations-Nancy-Goldner/dp/0813032261/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_138&sr=8-1-fkmr0

Share this post


Link to post

I'd also suggest the NY Times. Alastair Macaulay wrote about the ballet many times, performed by several different companies. And he seemed to always have a different point to make about the ballet, so it might be worth a binge read. 

https://www.nytimes.com/by/alastair-macaulay

Plus various online articles in the journal Ballet Review:

http://www.balletreview.com/images/Ballet_Review_46-1_Boos_Jewels.pdf

http://www.balletreview.com/images/Ballet_Review_36-2_Jewels.pdf

And one could search www.danceviewtimes.com for "Jewels."

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

There's a good short article by Laura Jacobs on Jewels in a 2010 Playbill: "The Balanchine Tapestries": Balanchine's Jewels Dances at Houston Ballet -

Quote

With repeated viewings divisions dissolve and similarities emerge: shared tonalities between acts, recurring choreographic motifs. Note Balanchine's inventive use of ballet's academic alignments ecarte ("thrown open"), efface ("shaded"), and croise ("crossed").These are three of ballet's eight positions of the body, and they place the dancer on an angle to the audience, as if sheared in space.

Balanchine is showing us the jeweler's cut and bevel inherent in classical technique, how it brings light and shadow to a phrase, and how it shows off the art's most precious gems: its ballerinas. The point is magnified in "Rubies," when a tall girl is cuffed by four men at the wrists and ankles and her legs manipulated into multifaceted extensions.

Quote

One can view Jewels as a trio of tapestries, woven through with the allegorical creatures of classical dance: sylphs and naiads in "Emeralds," sirens and firebirds in "Rubies," swans and the unicorn in "Diamonds."

http://www.playbill.com/article/the-balanchine-tapestries-balanchines-jewels-dances-at-houston-ballet

Jacobs original thinking on the relation of Jewels to the unicorn tapestries at the Musee de Cluny, which Balanchine showed to Suzanne Farrell a year before he choreographed Jewels, here at New Criterion (though behind paywall) -

https://newcriterion.com/issues/1998/3/balanchines-castle

Share this post


Link to post
Quote

and I *love* to brush up on my history before seeing a show. It makes it all last longer.

My preferred method also, Sygyzy!

And there are lots of good recommendations here, mostly, I assume, of the version with the revised "Emeralds" Balanchine made in 1977 on Verdy's retirement, which is the one you will probably see. 

In addition, Robert Garis wrote up his sensitive and evocative perceptions of the original suite in Partisan Review for Fall 1968 if you can get your hands on it somewhere.  Nancy Reynolds quotes his review at unusual length in her Repertory in Review: 40 years of the New York City Ballet (1977), itself hard to find now, I'm afraid.

Edited by Jack Reed
correcting the date of the Garis review

Share this post


Link to post

Lacking a link to an on-line copy of Garis's review of the premiere, I offer this savagely condensed version, trying meet our word limit on quoting published material:

Quote

Unquestionably a major work, but I admire it also because it is a big hit and was meant to be...  Jewels is a work of genius both as a work of art and as show-business…

'Emeralds' turned out to be unlike anything [Balanchine] has done before.  To suit the slow, even flow of the Prelude he has invented a paradise of motionless motion; it is a mondaine and elegant paradise appropriate to the music; the movements, like the music, are pure the way expensive things are pure; yet the ballet is far nobler in feeling and scale than Faure'…  '...Luxe, calme et volupte' [Baudelaire]

'Rubies' reminds us of other Stravinsky works… but the Capriccio is reminiscent too of Stravinsky's more serious music…  When [Morris's] limbs are manipulated by four men, the effect is funnier than similar things in Agon, but the quiet music keeps it from being openly comic…  The high point of [the last] movement, Villella circling the stage with his gang, crystallized the period nostalgia and parody you sense throughout ['Rubies'] - it looks like a trick cyclist's act.  But the basically loose carefree charm is fiercely charged up by Villella's brilliant virtuosity…

That there is less to say about 'Diamonds' is a fact about the ballet's meaning, not about its value.  'Diamonds' is not a newly invented world, like 'Emeralds,' nor an inspired new combination of familiar materials, like 'Rubies'; its impulse is toward radical purification, distillation, abstraction.  When Farrell is at her best, 'Diamonds' is one of the largest, most intense, most uncluttered experiences in ballet.

 

Edited by Jack Reed

Share this post


Link to post

You might take a look at Arlene Croce's anthologies -- I always learn something from her.

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...