Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
cabrales

New York City Ballet

Recommended Posts

The thing is that with, say, Milton or other classics, we take them, warts and all, as products of their now-past times. When something is of our time, you can't give the offensive stuff that excuse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes. And there's not really a world state I can see where, say, Petipa drops out of repertory. That will continue to be performed and will continue to find an audience, if only as a classic museum piece (but I hope more than that). Heck, Hochman at Critical Dance seems to want to see the City Ballet do Giselle – which is as obnoxious plot-wise (and un-City-Ballet) piece I can think of: http://criticaldance.org/new-york-city-ballet-sleeping-beauty/.

 

To my mind, though, even for modern pieces, opposition on moral grounds derives largely from an Americanized strain of Puritanism that nobody much likes. Consider Renaissance and Baroque art on pagan subject matter – and Savonarola. Not Puritan, sure – but Savonarola lost, and probably for the better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[savonarola] denounced clerical corruption, despotic rule and the exploitation of the poor.

 

The problem with that view is that it's teleological/whiggish to the point of incoherence. I could just as easily say that the Renaissance humanists were even more reactionary since they were looking back to pre-Christian models. It's the same kind of broadly discredited historiography that lumps everything from the 5th century to the 15th century as some dung-covered "Dark Ages".

 

Like the structure of that argument seems to be that things are "progressive" rather than "reactionary" if we judge them well these days (which is particularly funny when we apply it to the Luther and the Reformation... ), but that's necessarily a post hoc judgment, unless you're making a positive prediction about the future as well.

 

It was neat to listen to Stabat Mater with a countertenor, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought the choreography was kind of lame, though. It was especially unimpressive after just having seen Mark Morris's luminous Layla and Majnun. The best being the enemy of the good and all that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not on the right mailing list so I didn't know about it and didn't get tickets and I'm sure it was horribly sold out. ._.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Coming back to this after a bit, what struck me so much about Lang's Stabat Mater is that it had a bit of that aspect of the sacred about it. This is in contrast to, say, Peter Martins's Stabat Mater, which while there wasn't really anything wrong with the choreography, seemed essentially pagan to me. And from the reports, the Loftopera production was basically secular. Neither of the latter two seem like a reasonable approach, because it's just not a tenable interpretation of the music.

 

I really wish I didn't mess all the White Light Festival performances that actually did take place in sacred spaces.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jay Nordlinger is probably the most annoying person who writes about music in New York, but even for him, reviewing the City Ballet's orchestra seems silly.

May we talk frankly? The NYC Ballet Orchestra used to be kind of laughed at. It was a shoddy band on campus, sounding pick-up in nature. There must be no more laughing. This band is not merely a ballet orchestra but a real orchestra—an orchestra orchestra. Its music director is Andrew Litton, and he was the conductor of Jewels. Last I knew—I’ve been asleep—Litton was the music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and he was also enjoying a career as a pianist, known in particular for Gershwin. Come to discover, he has not been in Dallas since 2006; he became music director of the nyc Ballet in 2015. I should not sleep.


I mean, he seems to like it a lot under Litton, so I guess that's better than randomly panning a ballet orchestra – but still!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I don't get is how do you get to be a paid, professional music critic (I know that isn't Nordlinger's main gig -- but still) and not know about Andrew Litton's career status?

Or, I guess, to put it another way, if you don't know that Andrew Litton has been the Music Director of NYCB since 2015, maybe you shouldn't be writing about it professionally.

I'd also note that you'd think someone writing professionally about classical music in New York would be aware that the Dallas Symphony has had a different Music Director than Andrew Litton for the last 10 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In other words, professional music writing is usually better-informed than professional food writing. But not Jay Nordlinger.

 

(And that OOMP shit. Is it really so admirable to be smug about your belief that an art form is dead? Or even worse, to be acting to kill it?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jay Nordlinger is probably the most annoying person who writes about music in New York, but even for him, reviewing the City Ballet's orchestra seems silly.

 

<snip>

 

I mean, he seems to like it a lot under Litton, so I guess that's better than randomly panning a ballet orchestra – but still!

 

I disagree. The quality of the music performance has a big impact on the dance performance, as well as on viewer enjoyment of the whole package. It's possible to see a difference between dances performed to well-played music vs poorly played vs recorded. So it seems to me that a review of the orchestra is justified.

 

Who Nordlinger is, and his knowledge or lack thereof, have nothing to do with the merits of a review.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I strongly agree with Suzanne about that. And, much as it pains me to say so, on the merits I agree with Jay Nordlinger. The sorry state of the NYCB orchestra had long been a scandal in New York classical music circles -- and a puzzling one, given the famous musicality of Balanchine's choreography. Andrew Litton has effected a remarkable improvement in his two years there. Let's hope he keeps it up, and the orchestra keeps getting better. It would be great if he could get it to the point where, if there were still a classical music record industry, they would have gotten a contract to record ballet music.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...