Friday, April 22, 2011

4/22 Ballet & Beethoven

Beethoven only composed music for one ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus, Op.43 (1801), but that hasn't stopped modern choreographers from adapting his other chamber and symphonic works for dance as well.  I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of ballet, but if you put the Adagio from the "Hammerklavier" to it, or even the ever-modern "Grosse Fugue" - well I'll at least give it a go.  So...

Here's the Raiford Rogers Modern Ballet performing "HammerKlavier", based on excerpts from the late Piano Sonatas 29, 30 and 32:

Raiford Rogers Modern Ballet "HammerKlavier" Beethoven (excerpts)

Here's the same ballet company doing a performance using the Grosse Fugue op 133 (there's a bit of odd rehearsal footage with electronic music as well):

Raiford Rogers Modern Ballet & Beethoven Luckman Theater
(Another clip with some footage of ballet with the Op.130 "Cavatina" and Op.132 "Heiliger Dankgesang" can be seen HERE. )

The Michael Shannon Ballet here presents a kind of "dysfunctional domestic drama" to the adagio of the "Ghost" Piano Trio (it takes about a minute before B. kicks in):

Been There Done That: Michael Shannon Ballet: What Happened to Us: Beethoven: Configuration Dance

Finally here's Uwe Scholz and the Stuttgart Ballet performing a ballet to the entire 7th Symphony.  I think I like the Allegretto the best (the 2nd part).  Richard Wagner famously referred to this symphony as the "Apotheosis of the Dance" (I think specifically the 4th movement) and even did a private solo dance performance with Liszt on piano...
Choreography: Uwe Scholz
Music: Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 7 in A Major
Costumes and stage design: Uwe Scholz based on "Beta Kappa" of Morris Louis
Lighting setup: Uwe Scholz, Dieter Billino
World premiere: April 26, 1991, Stuttgart Ballet 



  1. Ok---but where is the actual "Prometheus" ballet?? That's the problem---nobody seems interested in choreographing the ONE ballet work B wrote! Is the heroic theme too "old-fashioned" for today's jaded tastes? I wonder how he would feel about such deep music as the Heiliger Dankgesang or the Cavatina turned into dance? Just some thoughts....

  2. I would fly to Europe if someone did a production of the Prometheus ballet! Unless of course they do it in some modern style with people in space suits and laser should be as authentic as possible. I posted about the scenario here:

    but it's pretty vague...

  3. Wow, Ed---I feel EXACTLY the same as you about this. I have yet to see Fidelio, you know. I was going to come to NY and see it at the Met a few years ago when they did it---thank goodness my buddy Susan Kagan stopped me. She said it was one of those "minimalist" modern productions and that I would hate it. thankyou for posting that link to your other blog post about it---I had missed that one, of course. I'll look at it now.