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On ‎26‎/‎04‎/‎2019 at 23:32, Dawnstar said:

Is this [Romeo & Juliet] the best ever ballet score? Certainly has to be the best ever non-Tchaikovsky one.

I do like the score very much, but I wouldn't personally rate it as the best ever ballet score, or indeed the best non-PT one.

For example, how about  the Minkus scores for  Don Q and La Bayadere ,   Massenet's  for Manon,  Herold/Lanchbery's for La Fille, or Adam's for Giselle?

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6 minutes ago, Richard LH said:

 

I do like the score very much, but I wouldn't personally rate it as the best ever ballet score, or indeed the best non-PT one.

For example, how about  the Minkus scores for  Don Q and La Bayadere ,   Massenet's  for Manon,  Herold's for La Fille, or Adam's for Giselle?

 

I think it's difficult to rate 'best evers', but for me Prokofiev's R&J would definitely be up there near the Tchaikovskys, as would his Cinderella and Adam's Giselle.

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11 minutes ago, Richard LH said:

I do like the score very much, but I wouldn't personally rate it as the best ever ballet score, or indeed the best non-PT one.

For example, how about  the Minkus scores for  Don Q and La Bayadere ,   Massenet's  for Manon,  Herold/Lanchbery's for La Fille, or Adam's for Giselle?

Well, Manon and Fille are compilations, although to be fair what we hear in the theatre for Beauty and Swan Lake doesn’t exactly reflect what the composer originally wrote. I’m not sure that Minkus as a composer per se ranks with Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky, although much his writing is fluent and rhythmical (and was, indeed, preferred, if my understanding is correct as “fit for purpose” by the dancers of the late nineteenth century).

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10 minutes ago, bangorballetboy said:

The Don Q score we usually hear contains quite a lot of material that is not by Minkus!

 

Yes, although it is his name that appears in the music credit. 

 

26 minutes ago, Jamesrhblack said:

Well, Manon and Fille are compilations

 

Again, I realise this but those are the credited names, and being a compilation doesn't exclude music  from being rated as a ballet score! 

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Surely Stravinsky should feature in any discussion of best ballet scores?

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Is this the best ballet score - in my opinion yes of the 20th Century. Very surprised that Khachaturian’s Spartacus was higher in Classic FM hall of fame this year!

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Richard LH said:

I do like the score very much, but I wouldn't personally rate it as the best ever ballet score, or indeed the best non-PT one.

For example, how about  the Minkus scores for  Don Q and La Bayadere ,   Massenet's  for Manon,  Herold/Lanchbery's for La Fille, or Adam's for Giselle?

While I enjoyed the music in both Don Q & Bayadere it didn't really move me at any point. I was discounting both Manon & Mayerling because the music wasn't written as ballet scores by the composers though I agree both have some lovely music. I haven't seen Fille or Giselle. Are they considered especially good? I can't recall coming across music from either of them being played as stand-alone or repurposed for e.g. ice skating routines, whereas R&J & the Tchaikovskys are also well-known divorced from actual ballet performances.

 

PS I'm surprised there aren't any expert comments here about last night, only my amateur ramblings.

Edited by Dawnstar
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Posted (edited)

While the Minkus scores are certainly very effective “scores for ballet”, I think what could be said objectively to confer “greatness” is having a performance life independent of ballet. This applies to the Tchaikovsky scores and Romeo and Juliet, and to a lesser extent to Giselle and Sylvia (and some others such as Spartacus), but I think it would be a stretch to claim that for the Minkus scores.

 

19 minutes ago, JohnS said:

Surely Stravinsky should feature in any discussion of best ballet scores?

 

I have a bit of a blind spot about Stravinsky - I was inoculated against him as a music student: too much “inspiration” from other composers and sources, not always credited; too little of himself running through his various re-inventions.

 

The only one of his explicitly ballet scores I really rate is the Rite of Spring - though see above re uncredited sources - and that has always been more of a success as a concert piece than a ballet score (the Pina Bausch version is clearly very successful, but it ain’t ballet).

Edited by Lizbie1
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2 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

While the Minkus scores are certainly very effective “scores for ballet”, I think what could be said objectively to confer “greatness” is having a performance life independent of ballet.

 

Thanks for putting that much better than I managed to above!

 

In terms of Stravinsky, I really like the Firebird suite but have not yet seen the ballet (remedying that in a few weeks) so I don't yet know how the music works on stage.

 

I'm guessing there may be a number of members at this afternoon's R&J, given it's the first performance of this cast? I'm on a train to London at the moment (hadn't originally intended to see it twice in 24 hours, last night was an added extra when the 1st night cast got such good reviews).

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1 hour ago, Lizbie1 said:

While the Minkus scores are certainly very effective “scores for ballet”, I think what could be said objectively to confer “greatness” is having a performance life independent of ballet.

I  think conferring  objective greatness is another matter, and is certainly beyond me....how can it be measured?

We all have our own subjective views of music and  ballet scores.

For me  the best ballets are where  the score and the dancing work wonderfully together, so as to regard the two as inter-dependent, rather than independent.

So for example  I really enjoy listening to Minkus scores (and others, whether compilations or not)   simply because they evoke, and I can recall and visualise, the particular dancing to which they relate.  I am not sure that even the Tchaikovsky pieces would be so well thought of if they had no relationship to their ballets.

Various beautiful compilations wouldn't exist as coherent musical works at all, if they had not been brought together for the ballet. 

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I find Delibes's ballet scores quite wonderful and Glazunov's score for Raymonda. I suppose I don't separate my pleasure in the scores from my pleasure in the ballets--the music absolutely takes me into the world of the ballets. But I also think the greatness of these ballets is inseparable from their music and the musicality of their choreography.  (I'm thinking of traditional productions based on St. Leon and Petipa for Coppelia and Raymonda and of Ashton's choreography for Sylvia.)

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My personal favorites, not judging by what choreographers make from them, but only from listening to the score:  I love Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker more than Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, then Prokofiev's Romeo, Sheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov and Stravinsky's Sacre. Best parts: End of act I in Nutcracker with the Journey through the snow and the Waltz, and the Balcony pdd in Romeo - after a lifetime of Romeos, I still think this is the most romantic, enchanting music.

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Could listen to Benjamin Britten's Prince of the Pagodas forever, inspired by his trip to Bali and gamalan music. Also love Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and the Firebird. 

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Not sure by ' best ballet scores' we mean scores that really add to the dance or scores that will stand by themselves. I love Sleeping Beauty as a score for the ballet, but don't feel it stands by itself as well as Swan Lake. Firebird and Petrouchka both work as concert works. Scores like Spartacus work so well with the ballet, but I don't think I'd enjoy just listening to the full score. Cinderella works well by itself,  particularly with that gorgeous swoony waltz! Can think of several scores I don't want to hear again, with or without ballet!

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Glad to see that some shorter scores are getting a look-in now, too.  I'd add Daphnis and Chloe to the mix, and possibly also Apollon Musagète if that hasn't already been mentioned.  And L'Après-Midi d'un Faune.

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I've seen R&J danced to Berlioz score, which I think is superior to the more familiar Prokofiev score. There is so many great ballet scores, it is hard to pick a favourite but The Firebird is oneo of mine.

 

 

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My favourite scores for ballet and dance which I can listen to wherever I am are:

 

Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty,

 

Philip Feeney's Dracula

 

Philip Feeney's Streetcar Named Desire

 

Philip Glass' In the Upper Room

 

Massenet compilation for Manon

 

Tchaikovsky compilation for Onegin

 

Rambert's Ghost Dances (as performed by Incantation)

 

Rambert's Sgt Early's Dream (as performed by Incantation)

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13 hours ago, alison said:

Glad to see that some shorter scores are getting a look-in now, too. 

 

In which case I must put in a vote for  Mendelssohn and The Dream. Fairy magic.....

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Daphnis and Chloe, The Firebird, Raymonda, Cinderella (Prokofiev) are all first thoughts for me.

 

If this is a list of music written for ballet (as opposed to things like Theme and Variations which are adapted from concert works) two of my favourites as being created scores which are excellent for their intend purpose I would list Paul Reade's music for Hobson's Choice and Far From the Madding Crowd.  It was a real loss to the world of ballet music that he died so young.

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Max Richter's scores for Infra and Woolf Works (specifically the first and third sections) 

Love the score for Giselle - except when male lead does his solo, as it seems so out of kilter with the rest of the evocative music of Act 2

The Faure music for Emeralds (in Jewels)

Requiem (also Faure)

Symphony in C by Bizet

 

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13 minutes ago, zxDaveM said:

Symphony in C by Bizet

 

 

Oh yes!!

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Mendelssohn's Midsummer's Night Dream? Both Ashton's The Dream and Balanchine's Midsummer's Night Dream did wonders with this score.

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We seem to be moving more into music used for ballets rather than music created for ballets now ...

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1 hour ago, alison said:

We seem to be moving more into music used for ballets rather than music created for ballets now ...

probably because there's a bit of a dearth of memorable new scores being written for baklet. I have to admit repeated watching of Winter's Tale have made me enjoy the music more. Totally agree about Hobson's  Choice. 

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3 hours ago, ninamargaret said:

I have to admit repeated watching of Winter's Tale have made me enjoy the music more.

 

I evidently need to try watching it more than once then. The only time I've seen it was the first cinecast & I remember being rather disappointed by the music, especially as a couple of years earlier I'd seen a musical adaptation of Winter's Tale, composed by Howard Goodall, which I'd loved musically.

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2 minutes ago, Dawnstar said:

 

I evidently need to try watching it more than once then. The only time I've seen it was the first cinecast & I remember being rather disappointed by the music, especially as a couple of years earlier I'd seen a musical adaptation of Winter's Tale, composed by Howard Goodall, which I'd loved musically.

can totally understand you! I have to admit that although I quite enjoy the music, I find it totally unmemorable! I've got a pretty good musical memory and can hum(horribly) quite large chunks of many of the ballets mentioned in this thread, but Winter's Tale defeats me,and I have seen it on stage and DVD many times.

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Yes, I didn't dislike the music, it was perfectly pleasant, but I didn't find any of it memorable. I guess I could say the same about Frankenstein when I saw that in March.

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On 02/05/2019 at 19:28, Jan McNulty said:

My favourite scores for ballet and dance which I can listen to wherever I am are:

 

...Philip Glass' In the Upper Room

 

Totally agree on this one - I find it hypnotic, engaging, and might say I am obsessed with it. Yet I don't like most of his other work. Must be the concatenation of the music and the choreography in my head.

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