Musical masterminds behind ABT’s performances

Mar 27, 2019

Chopin, Desyatnikov and Glass featured artists


Five years after celebrating Northrop’s grand reopening, American Ballet Theatre returns to Northrop on Tue, Apr 2 with a vibrant program featuring Alexei Ratmansky’s Songs of Bukovina, Jerome Robbins’ Other Dances, and Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room. Set to live piano, the program includes musical works by romantic era composer Frédéric Chopin, Ukrainian composer Leonid Desyatnikov, and a pre-recorded commissioned score by 20th century minimalist composer Philip Glass. In anticipation of the upcoming performance, here’s a brief look (and listen) into the musical repertory in the program.

Other Dances

Music by Frédéric Chopin, played live by Emily Wong

In Other Dances, choreographer Jerome Robbins incorporates four mazurkas* and one waltz by Frédéric Chopin. The ballet pays homage to the composer’s romanticism, simplicity, and virtuosity within these works while complimenting the purity and fluidity of classical ballet technique. The pieces will be performed live by composer/pianist Emily Wong.

Listen here:

Mazurka in B Major, Op. 41, No. 3

Mazurka in G Minor, Op. 63, No. 2

Mazurka in D Major, Op. 33, No. 2

Mazurka in A Minor, Op. 17, No. 4

Waltz in A Flat, Op. 64, No. 3

 *Mazurka, a Polish folk dance in moderate triple meter, usually consists of a lively tempo with “strong accents unsystematically placed on the second and third beat.” Though Chopin did not invent the mazurka, his compositions brought them to public attention and raised them to a new level of sophistication.

In the Upper Room

Music by Philip Glass

Commissioned by the Twyla Tharp Foundation, Philip Glass’ In the Upper Room was created in collaboration with Twyla Tharp for the 1986 ballet.Like much of the composer’s work, the score contains many “propulsive ostinato passages” and “long flowing melodies” (The New York Times), complimenting the choreography harmoniously. Originally released with only five of the nine movements on Sony’s Philip Glass Dance Pieces, the music was re-worked and released by Orange Mountain Music in 2009 with additional instrumentation and the full set of movements for a complete recording of In the Upper Room.

Listen here:

Phillip Glass: In the Upper Room

Songs of Bukovina

Music by Leonid Desyatnikov, played by Jacek Mysinski

Songs of Bukovina is choreographed to music by Ukrainian composer Leonid Desyatnikov. His sixth collaboration with choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, the work features preludes loosely based on Ukrainian folk songs, namely a selection of prelude excerpts from Desyatnikov’s Bukovinian Songs (24 Preludes for Piano). The work will be performed live by pianist Jacek Mysinski.

Desyatnikov’s work for Songs of Bukovina has not been released to the public, but you can listen to more of his music here.

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