Igor Stravinsky and George Balanchine, among the most influential artists of the twentieth century, together created the music and movement for many ballet masterpieces. This book is the first full-length study of one of the greatest collaborations in history. Drawing on extensive new research, Charles M. Joseph discusses the Stravinsky-Balanchine ballets against a rich contextual backdrop. He explores the background and psychology of the two men, the dynamics of their interactions, their personal and professional similarities and differences, and the political and historical circumstances that conditioned their work. He describes the dancers, designers, and sponsors with whom they worked. He explains the two men’s approach to the creative process and the genesis of each of the collaborative ballets, demolishing much received wisdom on the subject. And he analyzes selected sections of music and dance, providing examples of Stravinsky’s working sketches and other helpful illustrative materials.
___________________________________ From Publishers Weekly
“The ballets they forged together stand as one of the most extraordinary collaborative triumphs of the twentieth century,” writes Joseph (Stravinsky Inside Out), a professor of music at Skidmore College, of composer Igor Stravinsky and choreographer George Balanchine. Joseph takes a close look at the rapport of the two artists, creators of Apollo, Agon, Stravinsky Violin Concerto and other ballets in the early part of the century. According to Joseph, “no one balanced Stravinsky better than Balanchine,” whom Stravinsky called “the perfect collaborator.” While he explores the Stravinsky-Balanchine partnership from a musician’s perspective (perhaps in the process slighting the contributions of choreographers and dancers), Joseph’s detailed analyses of the music’s form and structure in relationship to the dance is excellent. It is no mean feat that he is able to articulate precisely what it is about Balanchine’s choreography that allows us, in Balanchine’s words, to “see the music and hear the dance.” Joseph’s study may have benefited from a more balanced treatment of the ballets; admirers of Firebird or “Rubies” from Jewels will be sorely disappointed, and some may question the amount of space given to the little-known work The Flood. Overall, though, the book is a thoughtfully crafted tribute to the extraordinary working relationship of two geniuses of the modern era. A must for dance and music students, scholars and aficionados. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Joseph (music, Skidmore Coll.; Stravinsky Inside Out) presents a fascinating, multidisciplinary study of the Stravinsky/Balanchine collaborations, among the most celebrated in the world of ballet. The book proceeds chronologically, beginning with Le Chant du Rossignol, choreographed by Balanchine in 1925 for Diaghilev’s famed Ballets Russes, and culminating with the nearly two dozen masterly New York City Ballet productions of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Both Stravinsky and Balanchine had Apollonian instincts; they favored order, structure, clarity, and restraint. Moreover, both were well read in the classics, and both were intensely interested in each other’s discipline (Balanchine was an accomplished pianist and conductor); thus, their friendship and creative partnership flourished in a felicitous meeting of minds and temperaments. An especially valuable section is Joseph’s detailed examination of the relationship of music to dance in two of the most acclaimed collaborations Agon and the Violin Concerto. The writing throughout is nontechnical and very accessible to lay readers. Recommended for all collections. Larry Lipkis, Moravian Coll., Bethlehem, PA Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.