(As I wrote the title I thought of the Tom Lehrer song that includes the line, “…take me to your lieder.” A joke that goes totally flat today.)
I just got back from watching/listening to Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” presented by Pacific NW Ballet. Wonderful. And as I watched and listened to Allan Dameron play (Phew, not once every couple of nights but sometimes twice a day!) I wondered, what is the conversation like between pianist and stager of the ballet. Of course the choreography dictates just about everything but are there areas of interpretation that are…um…negotiable?
I suppose the same could be asked (I have) of Emil DeCou, conductor of the PNB orchestra. Take Bizet’s Symphony in C. It’s an orchestral piece. But it’s also a ballet. Is there any difference in how one conducts it in either context? Emil’s answer is more complex than I can go into – or even precisely understand. But the answer, in a nutshell is, UH YEAH!
Can I close, dear listener, by asking what you think about ballet on the radio. Does it work? Is it better than not? We really would like to know. I’m sure you can guess my bias and it’s partly because the PNB Orchestra was reviewed the NY Times as the best ballet orchestra in America. And I think anything live beats anything recorded, no matter the flaws. What do you think?