Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust for appointing me to an endowed chair at Skidmore, providing me with the additional funding and time required to complete this project. Filmmaker Tony Palmer graciously met with me in Zurich to discuss his Stravinsky documentary, several segments of which are referenced throughout this book. Film composer David Raksin also spoke with me several times regarding his relationship with Stravinsky, and in particular about his contribution to one Stravinsky and Balanchine ballet detailed in Chapter 7.
Translations for passages from several documents originally in French and Russian were kindly provided by Lynne Gelber, Dorothy Manning, and Elizabeth C. Another of my close colleagues at Skidmore, Isabel Brown, with whom I have had the pleasure of team-teaching a Stravinsky and Balanchine course for more than a decade, served as both my own personal ballet teacher and good friend while the book took shape.
I would also like to thank Andrew Lefkowitz of Skidmore for his preparation of the music examples. David Porter, president of Skidmore while this book evolved, was particularly supportive of my work with his always encouraging remarks. Several of my music colleagues outside Saratoga have also offered advice, guidance, and permitted me to rely upon their work. The dancers and dance historians who unhesitatingly spoke with me in person, over the telephone, and through correspondence to offer so many useful suggestions to the text are numerous.
Listing their names is small tribute indeed. Barbara Horgan, Stephanie Jordan, and Nancy Reynolds read the rst draft of what you now see, offering corrections and other invaluable revisions. During the early stages of my bibliographic work at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division, Kara Gardner worked with me under the sponsorship of a Skidmore collaborative research grant.
Research for portions of one of the Apollo chapters was conducted at the Library of Congress, where Gillian Anderson and Wayne Shirley were most helpful. A word of thanks to Linda Golding, president of Boosey and Hawkes, for permission to reprint passages from several of Stravinskys scores. And I especially wish to recognize the cooperation of Paul Epstein, president of the George Balanchine Foundation; Leslie Hansen Kopp, general administrator; and once again both Barbara Horgan, general director, trustee, and chairman of the George Balanchine Trust, and Nancy Reynolds, research director for the Balanchine Foundation.
Yale University Press has stood by my work over many years, and I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to my editor Harry Haskell, who saw the manuscript through to completion. I cannot think of a more helpful, well-informed person with whom I might have collaborated. Susan Laity, with whom I have had the pleasure of working before on another dance project, provided the kind of guidance and wisdom one always hopes for in a manuscript editor.
Her contribution to this book deserves special recognition. Finally, a word of appreciation to my wife, Lucy, and daughters, Amy and Jennifer, who have endured this project over the better part of a decade. My daughter Jennifer, especially, had a greater hand in this study than she may have known. Her love of ballet, and the discipline she gained from its study over most of her young life, proved a guiding light as my interest in the StravinskyBalanchine partnership evolved.
Choreography, as I conceive it, must realize its own form, one independent of the musical form though measured to the musical unit. Its construction will be based on whatever correspondence the choreographer may invent, but it must not seek to duplicate the line and beat of the music. I do not see how one can be a choreographer unless, like Balanchine, one is a musician rst.
You see, usually choreography interferes with the music too much. When too much goes on on stage, you dont hear the music. Somehow the messy stuff obscures the music. I always do the reverse. I sort of subdue my dances. Theyre always less than the music. As in modern architecture, you rather should do less than more.
Stravinsky and Balanchine: A Journey of Invention - PDF Free Download
No conjoining of two 1. Beginning with their initial meeting in , a binding covenant quickly developed, a union that would connect them personally and professionally for the rest of their lives.
In Balanchines eyes, Stravinsky was a colossus, the Orpheus of the twentieth century. Along with Mozart and Tchaikovsky, no composer inspired him more. Even as a young ballet student at the Imperial Theater School in Petersburg, Georgi Balanchivadze was immediately drawn to Stravinskys vibrant music. By the time of his death in , he had choreographed many of the composers most important works. The powerful pulse of Stravinskys music owed relentlessly forward, begging to be placed into physical motion, to be visualized, to be danced.
Even through those electrically charged Stravinskyan moments of silence that so powerfully jolt the musics continuity, life goes on, Balanchine remarked. No matter what the piece, the genre, the instrumentation, the choreographer declared that every measure Eagerfeodorovitch ever wrote is good for dancing. In the eyes of both artists, music and dance were simple, elegant expressions of the manipulation of time and space. And as drearily antiseptic as such an unemotional depiction may at rst appear, theirs was a passionately shared conviction in the timeless order of beauty.
For both men, the ancient Pythagorean notion of beauty as the reduction of many to one provided a beacon. Moreover, order furnished a sanctuary, a controlled environment within which reason prevailed. Stravinsky found that the process of ordering musical elements was perfectly natural for hima periodic and habitual practice in which he happily engaged. Nor was Balanchine about to sit and wait for the Muse.
Both men were makers, craftsmenmanual laborers, as they thought of themselveswho needed to put things together. The act of assembling a composition or ballet God creates, I assemble, to invoke a famous Balanchinian aphorism was exhilarating, and certainly more gratifying than the nal product.
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Or, to put it the other way around, the work that resulted was closer to a byproduct, a residue of the process itself. I care less about my works than about composing, the composer declared. Similarly, nished ballets for Balanchine seemed largely irrelevant. His attitude is reminiscent of many creative artists: I truly do not care about a book once it is nished, offered John Steinbeck. The line of books on the shelf are to me like very well embalmed corpses.
Stravinsky and Balanchine
For both Stravinsky and Balanchine, it was the thrill of the chase that mattered most. It was this sense of propulsion that drove their preoccupation with the. Music is a chronologic art [which] presupposes before all else a certain organization of time, a chrononomyif you will permit me to use a neologism, the composer remarked. Balanchines analogy was even more cosmological: We are representing [the] art of dancing, [the] art of body movement, in time, in space.
It is the music, it is really time more than the melody, and our body must be subordinated to timebecause without time, dance doesnt exist. It must be order its like a planet. Nobody criticizes the sun or moon or the earth because it is very precise, and thats why it has life. If its not precise, it falls to pieces. They provided a primary catalyst, rst to jump-start ones thinking, then as a shaping inuence in sculpting a works nal version.
Freedom born of boundaries is hardly a new notion. No sooner do I form a conception of a material or corporeal substance, Galileo observed in , than I feel the need of conceiving that it has boundaries and shape. Likewise, throughout his life Stravinsky emphatically claimed that his powers of imagination were unshackled by imposed connements. Balanchine, too, dealt with whatever set of impediments he faced. A dog is going to remain a dog, even if you want to have a cat; youre not going to have a cat, so you better take care of the dog because thats what youre going to have. As Violette Verdy recalled, Balanchine did not try to transform or force a situation.
He accepted what he had to deal with. For the composer, visual impressions were often indelibly recorded, as he once remarked, on the retina of my eye. From his earliest childhood memories of a red-shirted country peasant making the most earthy kind of music to his viewing of a Hogarth exhibit he happened upon in Chicago which inspired his opera The Rakes Progress , the composer was deeply touched by painting, sculpture, and especially architecture.
These visual arts came alive for Stravinsky as each unfolded in its own rhythmic motion. The bridge to ballet was a short one.