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Thread: Carmen Overload

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    Carmen Overload

    I have had it up to here with skating programs set to the music of Carmen. How many Carmens can we (skate fans) take? How many times have we seen it before?

    Scott Moir said that there is only so much music that skaters can skate to before they (inevitably) use Carmen. That’s only true if you set all your programs to the Skate music classic CD, which contains only two selections, Carmen and Swan Lake.

    I can’t believe that skaters believe that there is no other music to skate to.

    Mozart wrote twenty-seven piano concerti. Carolina Kostner skated (superbly) to one of them last season. What about the other twenty-six? What about Don Giovanni, the Marriage of Figaro, the Magic Flute, the Clarinet Concerto, the Concerto for Flute and Harp, the violin concerti, the four horn concerti…and that’s just Mozart.

    Beethoven wrote 5 beautiful piano concerti that skaters never skate to, a superb violin concerto, a triple concerto and 31 gorgeous piano sonatas (if you leave out the overused “Moonlight”).

    Have skaters ever heard of Carl Maria Von Weber? He wrote gorgeous music for his operas “Der Freischutz,” “Oberon,” and “Euryanthe,” just to name a few of his compositions that would be perfect for skating.

    What about the brilliant music of Robert Schumann? When was the last time (or the first time for that matter) that a skater chose to skate to his piano concerto, his four symphonies, or one of his delightful piano miniatures from the “Carnaval,” “Kinderszenen” or “Kreisleriana” cycles?

    Have skaters ever heard of Hector Berlioz? I have never heard a skater skate to selections from the “Symphonie Fantastique” or any of his lovely operas and oratorios.

    Skaters overuse Mendelssohn’s violin concerto but appear to be totally ignorant of his gorgeous symphonies, his “songs without words,” his wonderful overtures and incidental music such as “Midsummer Nights Dream.”

    Why has no skater ever chosen to skate to the music of Johannes Brahms? It’s sinfully beautiful…the four symphonies, the two piano concerti, the violin concerto, the piano quintet, piano quartets, piano trios and so many songs. It’s some of the most beautiful music ever written, yet skaters seem entirely oblivious to it.

    Speaking of songs, no one wrote more songs of such infinite quality as Franz Schubert and yet skaters rarely if ever chose to skate to any of these. Moreover, Schubert wrote some really amazing and beautiful piano pieces but skaters seem ignorant of these too.

    Ravel wrote a lot more than just the overused Bolero. Skaters please listen to his piano concerti and ballet music.

    Rachmaninov’s 2nd and 3rd piano concerto are done to death but skaters always ignore his 1st and 4th piano concerti, which both contain many beauties and would make delightful skating music.

    Moreover, Saint-Saens wrote five piano concerti that are equally fine yet skaters appear totally ignorant of the fact.

    Waldteufel wrote a fine waltz for and about skaters called “Les Patineurs’ and many others besides but skaters seem unaware of any of them.

    Skaters have clearly heard of “Tosca” and “Madame Butterfly” but Puccini wrote many other fine operas like Turandot, Manon Lescaut and La Boheme that skaters rarely use.

    Moreover Puccini’s compatriot, Verdi wrote so much fine music such as his Requiem Mass, Il Trovatore, Aida, Otello, Rigoletto and La Forza Del Destino (just to name a few fine compositions). Skaters rarely if ever skate to Verdi’s music.

    Rossini was equally gifted and wrote much fine music that skaters always seem to overlook.

    When was the last time that a skater used the music of Franz Joseph “Papa” Haydn? I have actually never heard a skater skate to Haydn. He wrote 104 beautiful symphonies, piano concerti, cello concerti, horn concerti, trumpet concerti, a great body of piano trios, beautiful string quartets, piano music and countless masses, oratorios and operas. Surely such a large canon of work should provide a wealth of skating music (yet Scott Moir and his choreographer seem unaware of this).

    Scott Moir beautifully interpreted Mahler’s (underused) Adagietto from the Symphony No. 5 but there are four more movements in that symphony and nine other symphonies that skaters never use.

    I can go on and on and on this way but the point is that there is more music out there than just Carmen and Swan Lake It’s easy to just always fall back to these two pieces of music, these two chestnuts from the Skate classics CD but it’s lazy and I for one am tired of hearing the same music over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. Get another CD please.

    If nothing else the ISU should ban Carmen for all eternity.

  2. #2
    I like pie. Tonichelle's Avatar
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    It's Mathman's fault. Sources tell me he personally conducts a write in campaign to get as many skaters/teams to skate Carmen every season. Looks like most were tired of his letters and emails filling up their boxes and they gave in and gave him what he wanted.

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    Watch Haruka Imai's SP from last season and her LP from this season -- a Song Without Words by Mendelssohn and Divertiment+Violin Sonata+Ein kleine Nachtmusik. I think Boitano used Les Patineurs?

    Turandot is DEFINITELY used, A LOT. Especially Nessun Dorma.

    I think some are just difficult to skate to. Like Midsummer's Night Dream -- I had to play excerpts that (along with Don Juan) for a cello audition for this youth orchestra, and I sweat bullets every time I had to do the runs. I can only imagine a skater trying to keep up with that. Also, a lot of these are much more subtle -- it's easier to interpret Carmen than for example Ravel's Pavane.

    I've always wanted a skater to use Mussorgsky's "Pictures from an Exhibition", in the manner than Dennis Ten has his LP as a continuation of his SP this season (both from 'The Artist').
    Last edited by burntBREAD; 10-28-2012 at 11:32 PM.

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    This is a good topic. First I would like to point out that choreographers tend to suggest musical choices and we've seen that the average age of a competitive figure skater has decreased over the last 10 years. Then equal in the demands of COP. Thus, you will have less variety. I am not saying that this excuses the lack of imagination on the part of choreographers and coaches but you also have to look at how many skaters currently really interpret their music rather than skate through it? Not many in my opinion.

    I mean look at also what skaters are choosing as music in their exhibitions...yes the skaters should have fun but enough with the Adele....my two cents...

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    Which is why I admire Akiko Suzuki's programs this year, in particular her free, where she uses the Cirque du Soleil's O music. I'm sure there has been other skaters who have skated to Cirque du Soleil, but given the wide library of shows that company puts out, it's not hard to find some new music.

    I think the challenge is to find music cuts that work with the technical elements. But I would think that would be part of the fun!

    Actually, one pleasant surprise is Christina Gao and her SP music. I have never heard of the song, "Close without Touching," the album it came from, "The Spirit of Olympia" or the artists that did it, David Arkenstone.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Arkenstone <---- he sounds absolutely fascinating. And the guy has FORTY studio albums, so plenty to choose from.

  6. #6
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    It's Mathman's fault. Sources tell me he personally conducts a write in campaign to get as many skaters/teams to skate Carmen every season. Looks like most were tired of his letters and emails filling up their boxes and they gave in and gave him what he wanted.
    I think skaters use Carmen over and over for the same reason that Miss Hyacinth's Ballet and Modern Dance School stages the Nutcracker every Christmas. People like it.

    Opera music and especially ballet music are composed to accompany movement by performers on stage. Classical symphonic or chamber music is written to be listened to with eyes shut. (Although I do admit to a secret fondness for watching the tympani guy banging away. ) No one would dare skate to a Haydn string quartet because the reaction of the audience would be, I wish that skater would get off the ice -- she is distracting me from enjoying the music. (That is also why skating shows that feature live bands and popular singers fail so badly.)

    As for Carmen, the most easily recognized themes are the ones most closely associated with movement. The Toreador's Song is a march, The Habanera is, um, a habanera. Skaters that make a less heavy-handed selection from the opera (like Kaetlyn Osmond this year) merely lose out on the glorious Carmen-ness of it all.

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    I guess that I am in the minority; however, I don't care what music skater skates to. They could all skate to the same music and it would not bother me.

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    Scott Moir said that there is only so much music that skaters can skate to before they (inevitably) use Carmen. That’s only true if you set all your programs to the Skate music classic CD, which contains only two selections, Carmen and Swan Lake.
    I think you give too much weight to what Scott said, to me it seems he was trying to downplay the fact both they and C&L are skating to Carmen because people are curious and want to know how it came to be that two teams with an Igor connection are skating the same music. By saying there is only so much music you can skate I feel is an attempt to avoid the questions people really want to ask about.

    My impression from the press conference is that neither team wants to get dragged into any drama about this. They just want to skate their programs the best they can. And what is interesting to me as a fan, but not really of fan of Carmen, is how they both brought completely different programs to the table. Even more interesting what V&M brought which, imo, shows that overused music is NOT a problem if you bring something new to the table.

    And of course there is what Mathman said
    I think skaters use Carmen over and over for the same reason that Miss Hyacinth's Ballet and Modern Dance School stages the Nutcracker every Christmas. People like it.
    When I help find music for a skater very often I will dismiss beautiful music because it heard too often in the arena BUT if I really feel a particular skater will do a great job with any given skating warhouse I'll say go for it because for me overused music is only boring if the skater/s skating to it are boring

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    It's also judges are to blame. They surely comprehend overused music better and have troubles with new and unusual (see Dai's Blues) .

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    Missing Tdizzle and SDiggity golden411's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CAS View Post
    I think you give too much weight to what Scott said, to me it seems he was trying to downplay the fact both they and C&L are skating to Carmen because people are curious and want to know how it came to be that two teams with an Igor connection are skating the same music. By saying there is only so much music you can skate I feel is an attempt to avoid the questions people really want to ask about.

    My impression from the press conference is that neither team wants to get dragged into any drama about this. They just want to skate their programs the best they can. And what is interesting to me as a fan, but not really of fan of Carmen, is how they both brought completely different programs to the table. Even more interesting what V&M brought which, imo, shows that overused music is NOT a problem if you bring something new to the table.

    And of course there is what Mathman said
    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I think skaters use Carmen over and over for the same reason that Miss Hyacinth's Ballet and Modern Dance School stages the Nutcracker every Christmas. People like it.
    I agree with all of the above. Plus I think another reason that the skaters will bend over backwards to avoid stirring up the pot is that they like and respect each other.

  11. #11
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Here's what Igor said when interviewed on the subject of the 2 Carmens:

    Interview with Igor Shpilband by Russian Press post Skate Canada



    28.10.2012 15:16:01 | Figure skating | Figure Skating. Gran-pri-2012/13. The second stage
    http://www.team-russia2014.ru/article/figur/5813.html


    - When you chose the music for the free dance Italian duo, you certainly did not know what version & cuts of "Carmen" Canadians Virtue - Moir would take. Do you now not want to change any program components to avoid direct comparisons between your students?

    - The program will not change. The program are very different. They are made in a different way. As for the music of "Carmen," that it was used, and will be used, because the music is brilliant. These programs use different music cuts, themes and plots. After the review, I got the judges' comments, and I know that many in composition & formulation prefer the free dance drama of Anna and Luca.
    I would welcome any fixes of the Google translate version above, by fluent Russian speakers. Thank you in advance.

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    Not all beautiful music is condusive to skating, that said however, I think it's more a matter of lazyness. It takes a lot of time to look for unusual, less known or less used pieces of music. Dance in particular is tougher in the SD because of the Pattern Dance. I admired what Frank Carroll did for Michelle Kwan, always looking for unusual and different pieces of music for her performances.

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    I personally like Carmen.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    I do too...particularly Habanera

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CAS View Post
    I think you give too much weight to what Scott said, to me it seems he was trying to downplay the fact both they and C&L are skating to Carmen because people are curious and want to know how it came to be that two teams with an Igor connection are skating the same music. By saying there is only so much music you can skate I feel is an attempt to avoid the questions people really want to ask about.


    I interpreted his quote exactly the same way.

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