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Ballets, coupled and uncoupled

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Though Jerome Robbins choreographed "Antique Epigraphs" and "Afternoon of a Faun" decades apart, they were frequently paired at NYCB, presumably because of similarities in the Debussy music. This season, "Antique Epigraphs" has been uncoupled, and I, for one, think both ballets are better for it.

On the other hand, though Peter Martins choreographed "Eight Easy Pieces" five years before "Eight More," they are definitely companion pieces, using the same Stravinsky music -- for piano duets and orchestra, respectively. It was great fun seeing these two ballets together this season.

Then there's the case of Balanchine's "Monumentum Pro Gesualdo," from 1960, and "Movements for Piano and Orchestra," 1963. I can't remember when these two Stravinskys were first coupled, but "Monumentum/Movements" now seem inseparable. Often the same ballerina dances both, but not always. I like them better when it's the same ballerina. But both ballets got highly favorable reviews on their own at their premieres. Even John Martin liked "Monumentum." So could they have an independent life of their own now? They're very short, so they'd probably have to be paired with other things.

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FF -

I think Monumentum Movements were first done together about 1964 and no later than 1965 (I did research on this, but I'm not near it) I'd probably love Monumentum together or apart from Movements; it's one of my favorite little masterworks.

I'm also glad Antique Epigraphs has been uncouples from Afternoon of a Faun as well. Unlike the two Stravinsky pieces, which contrast strongly, the two Debussy pieces taken together become cloying for me.

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"Choreography from George Balanchine" says that "Movements for piano and orchestra" and "Monumentum pro Gesualdo" were performed together "occasionally since 1965 and consistently since 1966". By the way, are they in the repertory of any other company than NYCB?

Another example of "uncoupled" work is "Rubies" from "Jewels". "Choreography by GB" mentions that it was performed "alone" by the POB in 1974, but I wonder if it was performed alone by other companies before? Anyway, I find it more interesting with the two other parts of "Jewels" than alone, I prefer to have the contrast in colors, music and style.

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