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multiple composer taboo?


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The Classic Ballets each had a single composer because, of course, the composer wrote the music FOR that particular ballet, very simple.

But my question doen't concern that, it has to do with the use of classical compositions for a new ballet... in other words, the music from the 19th century is adapted for use in a new production, for example... in Mayerling (composer-Franz Liszt), and in Lady of the Camellias (composer-Frederic Chopin). Now, in those cases, the music was NOT written for the ballet but was picked up much later and adapted for use in ballet. (or that is my understanding of it)

So my question is this... do you know of any ballet production that uses the music from more than one composer? If so, I would be interested in knowing about that production.

And if NOT, then I would want to ask... is there a kind of "taboo" against using the music from more than one composer to construct a new ballet? And if so,what is the nature of that taboo?

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Nothing new here. The ballet La Source had a score that was shared by Leo Delibes and Ludwig Minkus. At least they did separate acts! During the twenties, the Ballet Suedois did a work with a fun score by six different composers! And it was only one act, "Les Maries de la Tour Eiffel"! However, any resemblance between that and classical ballet was purely coincidental. Minkus, before he went to Russia, arranged, and sometimes composed "filler" or "bridge" music for comic operas by Offenbach and Lalo. Stuart Sebastian's version of the omnipresent "Dracula" has different composers represented. There are many other examples, both original and assembled that use an assortment of composers. The trouble is, making an artistically harmonic mix!

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I should think the nature of that taboo would be somewhere in the realm of common sense. You wouldn't want a dinner that started with spring rolls , went on to lasagna with a side of coleslaw and half dill pickles, and finished up with a salzburger knockerl (I am not sure I spelled that right), or would you?

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No, I don't think I'd want that dinner, but I don't mind seeing Vienna Waltzes, which is to music by three different composers. The most successful, and seamless, ballet to music of different composers, IMO, is Balanchine's Square Dance, to compositions of Antonio Vivaldi and Arcangelo Corelli.

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Nanatchka, Sounds good to me! I think I'd eat the lasagna and cole slaw and put the rest in the fridge for harder times!

Editing is like using the stuff that goes together and putting the rest in cold storage for possible consumption at a later time. Nice thing about classical music is that it never goes bad with age. But I may just pass on the pickles!

And Mel, thanks for all the details. I don't know about Dracula, but I hear that it has been successful, so that makes the point. So its good to hear all these examples. It can be done, but it has to be done carefully... so that is encouraging.

And mixing different styles of music may even be useful... for example in Swan Lake there is a scene with dancers from different countries, so naturally, it could be a place for different styles and different composers. So certain storys may even require diverse music.

And Farrell Fan, glad to know that it was done by Balanchine also, that really gives the green light.

Thanks again for your great replys, completely informative and fun too!:)

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Ronny, there are other examples, too, like Bournonville's Far From Denmark, which has a "salmagundi"(or is it menu d├ęgustation?) score made up of a basic frame by Hans Christian Lumbye, but a divertissement made up of "numbers" by all different composers, as the different nations are portrayed. North America, interestingly, is portrayed by Lumbye, and his "War Dance of the Red Indians" but South America and the Caribbean is portrayed by Louis Moreau Gottschalk with a pas de deux to "Le Bananier".

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