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Davidsbundlertanze

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I never saw this ballet live, but I've always wanted to. It shares similarities with Liebeslieder Waltzer; i.e. four couples, a nod to social dancing, piano onstage, a bygone era of emotional restraint.

When I look on the NYCB website Davidsbundlertanze is not even listed as part of the repertory. Does anyone have an idea why? Has NYCB performed it since Balanchine's death? Oh, never mind. It's listed under Robert: Robert Schuman's Davidsbundlertanze. Still, it doesn't look like it's been done recently. The pictures include Janie Taylor who retired some years ago. Has anyone seen it? How were the casts? Some of the roles seem to gain a lot from what we know of the relationships between Balanchine and the dancers. I'm thinking of Farrell and von Aroldingen, his two great friends and muses from the last part of his life... in addition, of course, to the spectacular dancing all around.

 

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14 minutes ago, BalanchineFan said:

 When I look on the NYCB website Davidsbundlertanze is not even listed as part of the repertory. Does anyone have an idea why? Has NYCB performed it since Balanchine's death? Oh, never mind. It's listed under Robert: Robert Schuman's Davidsbundlertanze. Still, it doesn't look like it's been done recently. The pictures include Janie Taylor who retired some years ago. Has anyone seen it? How were the casts?

I'm pretty sure it's been done within the past decade. I saw it once, but I don't remember much about it. I was quite new to Balanchine then, and had mostly experienced classical ballet. I didn't like it at the time, I recall, though I might like it better now. I've been meaning to give this video a watch.

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6 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I'm pretty sure it's been done within the past decade. I saw it once, but I don't remember much about it. I was quite new to Balanchine then, and had mostly experienced classical ballet. I didn't like it at the time, I recall, though I might like it better now. I've been meaning to give this video a watch.

I'd love to hear what you think of the video. I find it just exquisite. But you can't be in the mood for Symphony in C, or anything like that.

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I remember seeing it maybe 4 years ago. I particularly remember how beautiful Rebecca Krohn and Russell Janzen were. I think it was before Janzen was promoted to principal, so that might help pinpoint when it was. As I recall, they fielded two casts including a bunch of debuts, so I was assumed it would be coming back the next year, but it didn't. I would love to see it again. 

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26 minutes ago, cobweb said:

I remember seeing it maybe 4 years ago. I particularly remember how beautiful Rebecca Krohn and Russell Janzen were. I think it was before Janzen was promoted to principal, so that might help pinpoint when it was. As I recall, they fielded two casts including a bunch of debuts, so I was assumed it would be coming back the next year, but it didn't. I would love to see it again. 

I think I saw the same casting in that period — I also remember being awed by Rebecca Krohn.

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1 hour ago, BalanchineFan said:

I never saw this ballet live, but I've always wanted to. It shares similarities with Liebeslieder Waltzer; i.e. four couples, a nod to social dancing, piano onstage, a bygone era of emotional restraint.

When I look on the NYCB website Davidsbundlertanze is not even listed as part of the repertory. Does anyone have an idea why? Has NYCB performed it since Balanchine's death? Oh, never mind. It's listed under Robert: Robert Schuman's Davidsbundlertanze. Still, it doesn't look like it's been done recently. The pictures include Janie Taylor who retired some years ago. Has anyone seen it? How were the casts? Some of the roles seem to gain a lot from what we know of the relationships between Balanchine and the dancers. I'm thinking of Farrell and von Aroldingen, his two great friends and muses from the last part of his life... in addition, of course, to the spectacular dancing all around.

 

It is part of the rep? 
 

https://www.nycballet.com/ballets/r/robert-schumanns-davidsbundlertanze.aspx

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1 hour ago, cobweb said:

I remember seeing it maybe 4 years ago. I particularly remember how beautiful Rebecca Krohn and Russell Janzen were. I think it was before Janzen was promoted to principal, so that might help pinpoint when it was. As I recall, they fielded two casts including a bunch of debuts, so I was assumed it would be coming back the next year, but it didn't. I would love to see it again. 

Janzen was promoted to principal February 2017, so you're saying it would have been before then? He became a soloist in 2014. I'm pretty sure Janie Taylor retired before 2015.

 One of the pictures on Robert Schuman's Davidsbuntlertanze's main rep page seems to show Ashley Laracey. Another cast included Maria Kowroski, Sara Mearns, Abi Stafford and Janie Taylor. Jared Angle is one of the only men pictured.

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I just did a quick search on this site. They did it in Spring 2014. There are various comments on the topic "Spring Season 2014."

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I remember reading in Farrell's book, that in most roles, Balanchine dressed her in white, but that this time he put her in blue and Karin wore the white.  Seems like the other two girls had green and yellow, but I'm not sure.  Kind of makes me think of Dances at a Gathering, as in girl in green, girl in mauve, etc.

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We're very lucky to have this video (it was also released on laserdisc, unseen by me), which has all of the original cast save Kay Mazzo, who had retired, I believe. Sara Leland dances her role. This inexpert ear did not care much for the playing of Gordon Boelzner, but the dancers are all wonderful and the chamber style of the ballet made it well suited to video. 

Certainly the roles danced by Farrell and von Aroldingen suggest tantalizing similarities to the roles they played in Balanchine's life. Von Aroldingen's devoted wife is a different kind of Balanchine woman, displaying a tenderness and selflessness that makes the role unique in his repertory, I think.

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 It shares similarities with Liebeslieder Waltzer; i.e. four couples, a nod to social dancing, piano onstage, a bygone era of emotional restraint.

True, BalanchineFan, but I'd suggest the similarities don't go very far or deep. The subject matter is very different, and even the group dancing isn't social dancing in the same sense.

'

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3 hours ago, BalanchineFan said:

When I look on the NYCB website Davidsbundlertanze is not even listed as part of the repertory. Does anyone have an idea why?

Believe it or not, you have to look under Robert Schumann's "Davidsbündlertänze."

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6 hours ago, nubka said:

Seems like the other two girls had green and yellow

Sara Leland was in yellow, and Heather Watts was in pink.

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I would love to see it again too.  Russell Jantzen had a recent fellowship (last year I believe) from NYU’s Center for Ballet and the Arts, and his topic was Davidsbündlertänze. It raised my hopes that it would come back to the repertory. 

Separately, I heard Wendy Whelan and Jonathan Stafford in conversation with Edward Villella earlier this week at Symphony Space. When questioned by Villella about how she’s been spending her time, Wendy said she had just finished the programming for 2020-21, and that it would now be reviewed and discussed before being finalized. I hope she doesn’t forget the gems of the Balanchine rep but must admit I’m wary.

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Robert Garis suggests – and this is supported by Robert Gottlieb in an interview – that when Suzanne Farrell returned to the company, Karin von Aroldingen was doing her role in LIebeslieder Walzer. Balanchine didn't want to take the role away from von Aroldingen yet felt it still belonged to Farrell. He dropped Liebeslieder and created Davidsbundlertanze as a solution. Garis thinks the Clara and Robert Schumann roles for von Aroldingen and Adam Luders that Dirac refers to above are the most completely realized, and also Farrell's one of a self-sufficient, woman alone, but that the rest of the ballet is a first draft, a pencil sketch of a Liebeslieder-like work.

I don't think I saw Davidsbundlertanze when I lived in New York – there's a line in my notebook reminding me to go and if I had, it would have been the first Balanchine work I had seen which would perhaps have given me a wrong idea of what Balanchine was about.  On video it seems much more baroque than any of his other works, continually coming and going, bursting forward and disappearing into itself, all the clarity of classicism giving way to Schumann's romanticism and wildly shifting states of emotion. Happily Balanchine made one more great ballet afterwards, Mozartiana, whose emotional spreadsheet balances out more evenhandedly.

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31 minutes ago, Quiggin said:

Robert Garis suggests – and this is supported by Robert Gottlieb in an interview – that when Suzanne Farrell returned to the company, Karin von Aroldingen was doing her role in LIebeslieder Walzer. Balanchine didn't want to take the role away from von Aroldingen yet felt it still belonged to Farrell. He dropped Liebeslieder and created Davidsbundlertanze as a solution. Garis thinks the Clara and Robert Schumann roles for von Aroldingen and Adam Luders that Dirac refers to above are the most completely realized, and also Farrell's one of a self-sufficient, woman alone, but that the rest of the ballet is a first draft, a pencil sketch of a Liebeslieder-like work.

I don't think I saw Davidsbundlertanze when I lived in New York – there's a line in my notebook reminding me to go and if I had, it would have been the first Balanchine work I had seen which would perhaps have given me a wrong idea of what Balanchine was about.  On video it seems much more baroque than any of his other works, continually coming and going, bursting forward and disappearing into itself, all the clarity of classicism giving way to Schumann's romanticism and wildly shifting states of emotion. Happily Balanchine made one more great ballet afterwards, Mozartiana, whose emotional spreadsheet balances out more evenhandedly.

 He did send von Aroldingen out to stage Liebeslieder and he also left it to her in his will if I remember correctly. She staged it for the company not long after he died, with Farrell in her old role.  I wouldn't expect anyone to accept my opinion over Garis' but it does seem to me there's more going on in Robert Schumann's Davidsbundlertanze, which is probably how we should refer to it, than "pencil sketch" implies.  BTW I think the video represents von Aroldingen's most appealing performance on commercial video, and Farrell looks wonderful, too.

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18 hours ago, California said:

I don't think this would explain why it isn't often performed, but Francis Schroeder, the primary funder of this ballet and a member of the NYCB Board, was charged with murder. I'm curious if they credit her for the funding nowadays when they perform it:

https://www.nytimes.com/1982/03/22/us/note-on-will-cited-in-78-utah-murder.html

 

Frances Schreuder was charged and convicted. Robert Gottlieb sent her gifts while she was in jail, and had Balanchine lived, who knows, he might have had to testify. I trust the vetting procedures for Board members have improved since then. It's been many years since I read it but I remember Shana Alexander's book on the case as being a good one, with interesting tidbits about SAB and NYCB in that era (Schreuder's daughter attended the school).

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20 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Believe it or not, you have to look under Robert Schumann's "Davidsbündlertänze."

Yes, that was my original error. It's under R.

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22 hours ago, nubka said:

I remember reading in Farrell's book, that in most roles, Balanchine dressed her in white, but that this time he put her in blue and Karin wore the white.  Seems like the other two girls had green and yellow, but I'm not sure.  Kind of makes me think of Dances at a Gathering, as in girl in green, girl in mauve, etc.

I find there's something very compelling about the casting and the costumes. Farrell and d'Amboise are paired. He's at the end of his career, a decade older than all the other men, she's still in her prime but wears a ribbon in her hair like a younger girl. Peter Martins dances with Heather Watts (originally Kay Mazzo, I believe). When Farrell and Martins dance together in other ballets (Chaconne, Tzigane, Diamonds) they often seemed like the king and queen of the world. Their height and size, the amplitude of their movement, the grandeur of their stage presence contribute to them seeming to reign over all before them. When they dance with other people it's different, they both seem more human, vulnerable. They have different inherent roles and impact, less grand. It becomes a choreographic statement in RS's Davidsbundertanze.  Balanchine is very deft that way. Simple decisions have a huge impact on the ballet.

I wouldn't call it a pencil sketch. It's its own ballet. Perhaps the dark demons stalking Luders character seem ... a bit hackneyed, but I see what Balanchine is going for.  Schuman was tormented. Some of the ballet is just glorious and makes its emotional impact in a way that, for me, brings the aching  lyricism of Liebeslieder to mind. If a ballet could break your heart, this is it. At one point, Farrell and d'Amboise have an exit downstage past the piano that always takes my breath away.

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3 hours ago, BalanchineFan said:

Peter Martins dances with Heather Watts (originally Kay Mazzo, I believe).

If I'm not mistaken, Watts originated the role. Leland replaced Mazzo.

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You're not mistaken.

Watts was always paired with Martins until he retired. First Mazzo, then Leland, were cast with Ib Anderson.   Saland took over the role; the rest of the cast remained intact for a few years.

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On 11/17/2019 at 9:59 PM, Kathleen O'Connell said:

If I'm not mistaken, Watts originated the role. Leland replaced Mazzo.

Thank you.

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