Having just been to a thrilling Halle concert of this score, I wonder if I could name it as the greatest piece of music from the century. A bold claim, but the more I hear it, and I've known it for 50 years or so, it takes my breath away whether it's in the theatre or concert hall. listening to it tonight, without any dancers, you are never in doubt of where you are or who is being musically described. Thrilling.
I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it and would probably agree with you that it is the greatest ballet score of the 20th Century - others would disagree and make a case for Rite of Spring or Daphnis and Chloe - and I would say my second favourite is the same composers Cinderella. But there is way too much competition elsewhere for it to be the greatest music i.e.-
Shostakovich - 5th Symphony Debussy - La Mer Berg - Wozzeck Strauss - Rosenkavalier, Salome etc Bartok - Concerto for Orchestra Rachmaninov - 2nd Symphony Mahler - late Symphonies Britten - War Requiem, Peter Grimes Holst - The Planets Elgar - Enigma Variations
I agree with you tmesis. Greatest ballet score, yes. Greatest piece of music, no. I personally would go for Rosenkavalier as the greatest piece of music, although I wouldn't necessarily expect anyone else to agree with me.
I agree with you tmesis . Greatest ballet score, yes. Greatest piece of music, no. I personally would go for Rosenkavalier as the greatest piece of music, although I wouldn't necessarily expect anyone else to agree with me.
Yes, Rosenkavalier has some glorious music but it is a tad long.... It is Elektra that does it for me, apart from a ghastly performance that I saw in Salzburg conducted by Karajan. His lighting was so dim that I have no idea whether or not Astrid Varnay was actually on stage, especially as his orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, was so loud you couldn't hear the singers either!
But I do have huge admiration for Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet and, as I have mentioned before on this board, the greatest night I ever spent in the theatre was back in February 1965 for the first night of the Macmillan ballet with Fonteyn and Nureyev at Covent Garden. Every aspect of that night was overwhelming, with the music contributing substantially to the emotional impact of what was happening on stage.
The important thing, however, is that we must all count ourselves lucky that we can get so much enjoyment out of the classical music of the 20th century whether it be by Stravinsky or Prokofiev or Ravel or Strauss or Elgar or Shostakovich....