How important is faithfulness to the source of the music? | Page 3 | Golden Skate

How important is faithfulness to the source of the music?

Joined
Jun 21, 2003
By the way, sort of in the spirit of Simple Gifts, I wish someone would skate to this. In the 1920s the remains of a 5000 year old harp were unearthed in the ruins of the Sumerian city of Ur. The wooden parts were long gone of course, but there was enough of the silver plating that archeologists were able to reconstruct it. Here harpist Peter Pringle improvises on what he imagines the originsal music might have sounded like. There is even music for a footwork sequence at the end. :)

 
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Joined
Jun 21, 2003
To me, the most interesting question regards the intent of the music itself. What expectations does the actual musical structure provoke.

Ballet music is composed with the specific intent to support dance movements. If the music is so magnificent that it can stand alone, that's an extra add-on bonus. The music even supplies unmistakable cues to subsequent choreographers -- PUT LIFT HERE.

Something like Virtue and Moir's Mahler's Fifth Symphony on the other hand, what does the music call for? Or is it a blank screen for choreographers and performers to fill with their own inspiration?
 

Mathematician

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We once had a thread in whch someone opined that it was an afront to religion to skate to Schubert's Ave Maria. Becuase the music was so divinely inspired and the prayer so holy that it was blasphemous to put it to such profane and earthly use as a figure skating contest. Did that poster have a point?
Was Schubert a prophet? What makes him so special that only he knew the divinity of God well enough to place it to earthly art (music) - but a figure skater cannot know Him well enough to perform in His glory also? The Bible says nothing against dancing, at least, not single's dancing, and aside from the obvious religeous objections such as sexual theme. So, for a single's performance, I don't see the inherent unholiness assuming appropriate costume and choreography - "Let them praise His name with the dance" - Psalms 149:3

Islam is different - from what I understand, public flamboyant dancing is at best frowned upon, especially when the opposite gender is a witness. In this case skating to a Muslim Nasheed would probably be blasphemous.
 

Mathematician

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I just wish we could see more world music, more from other cultures.
Lucky for you, this season Valieva is presenting music right from the heart of Wakandan culture!

6C7911377-tdy-130617-leo-toasts-1.jpg
 

TallyT

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Lucky for you, this season Valieva is presenting music right from the heart of Wakandan culture!

6C7911377-tdy-130617-leo-toasts-1.jpg
Not really, I really dislike Valieva. Purely personal taste.

(And yes, I understood the 'joke'.)
 
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Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Was Schubert a prophet?
When it comes to religion, there is no predicting what people will come up with.

The Moravian Church,especially in America, cherished the trombone as God's instrument, all other musical instruments being, well, less so. One time the Moravian settlement in Pennsyylvania got word that a band of fierce American Indians was preparing to attack them. The preacher declared, "No one shall permit a hostile feeling against the Indians to arise within himself, but shall trust in the Lord our God for deliverance."

So the trombone choir played from the bell tower and sure enough, the Indians dispersed of their own accord.

 
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Mathematician

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When it comes to religion, there is predicting what people will come up with.

The Moravian Church,especially in America, cherished the trombone as God's instrument, all other musical instruments being, well, less so. One time the Moravian settlement in Pennsyylvania got word that a band of fierce American Indians was preparing to attack them. The preacher declared, "No one shall permit a hostile feeling against the Indians to arise within himself, but shall trust in the Lord our God for deliverance."

So the trombone choir played from the bell tower and sure enough, the Indians dispersed of their own accord.

Haha, not sure how the trombone worship arised, but from the Bible I know God seems to like trumpets!

Anyways, thats a really cool story, thanks for sharing.
 
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el henry

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When it comes to religion, there is predicting what people will come up with.

The Moravian Church,especially in America, cherished the trombone as God's instrument, all other musical instruments being, well, less so. One time the Moravian settlement in Pennsyylvania got word that a band of fierce American Indians was preparing to attack them. The preacher declared, "No one shall permit a hostile feeling against the Indians to arise within himself, but shall trust in the Lord our God for deliverance."

So the trombone choir played from the bell tower and sure enough, the Indians dispersed of their own accord.


"The" Moravian settlement in Pennsylvania of course being right here, the Christmas City, Bethlehem, PA.

The Moravians were actually well known for treating Native Americans with (relatively speaking) respect. "Indians" and "Africans" are buried in the same cemetery as settlers from Europe. As long as you were Moravian, of course. ;)

:ot:
 

eppen

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I think that it is ok to re-interpret a piece of music without regard to its original intent. Though if the piece has super strong associations with something, like Carmen or Swan Lake, using it for something completely different might not be a good idea.

Papadakis & Cizeron used Cinematic Orchestra's To Build a Home to portray a love story which (I think) ended happily and it fitted the song well enough, as they left out the last verse where there it is hinted that things might have not been that hunky dory.

Benoit Richaud used one of the modern warhorses Bosso's Rain, In Your Black Eyes as a frame for a story in Adam Siao Him Fa's short last season. The free used a couple of songs by Woodkid that worked lyrically and musically together to continue the story. It all worked brilliantly and probably had relatively little to do with what the composers had intended.

What I would like to see is that kind of use of all the elements, the music, the lyrics and the movement, so that they all work together.

However, I sometimes feel that lyrics are mostly ignored - most Michael Jackson themed programs have Billie Jean with lyrics in it and in these metoo times, that is just not a great choice. A he-said-she-said kind of messy story there.

Isabeau Levito had a song by Yasmin Levy as her short last season, Una noche mas, and I don't think they had looked up a translation of the lyrics which seem to be about an unhappy love affair between an older woman and a younger man... She performed it as a "sassy Spanish piece" with a grin on her face most times when the music was pretty melancholy and did not have a sassy note in it.

E
 
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Michelle Kwan's breakout piece (1996) was Salome . Here's what choreographer Lori Nichol said about it:

In "Salome," for Kwan, Nichol says she was flat-out "tired of tits and ass in skating" and searched for music that evoked a different kind of femininity. "I strongly believed that we were about much more, that we could be represented as being strong and sensual and powerful. We could be many things.”

So she went with the story of a teenaged temptress (or was she a helpless pawn moved about by power-hungry adults?) who did a strip tease for the king, then demannded the execution of John the Baptist as her payment. (15-year-old Michelle did a double-take when they told her what the story was about -- but she won the world championship with it.)
 
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4everchan

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Michelle Kwan's breakout piece (1996) was Salome . Here's what choreographer Lori Nichol said about it:

In "Salome," for Kwan, Nichol says she was flat-out "tired of tits and ass in skating" and searched for music that evoked a different kind of femininity. "I strongly believed that we were about much more, that we could be represented as being strong and sensual and powerful. We could be many things.”

So she went with the story of a teenaged temptress (or was she a helpless pawn moved about by power-hungry adults?) who did a strip tease for the king, then demannded the execution of John the Baptist as her payment. (15-year-old Michelle did a double-take when they told her waht the story was about -- but she won the world championship with it.)
Only Michelle could pull that one off. The Dance of the seven veils... yeah... it's not for all teenage girls.
 

icewhite

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Michelle Kwan's breakout piece (1996) was Salome . Here's what choreographer Lori Nichol said about it:

In "Salome," for Kwan, Nichol says she was flat-out "tired of tits and ass in skating" and searched for music that evoked a different kind of femininity. "I strongly believed that we were about much more, that we could be represented as being strong and sensual and powerful. We could be many things.”

So she went with the story of a teenaged temptress (or was she a helpless pawn moved about by power-hungry adults?) who did a strip tease for the king, then demannded the execution of John the Baptist as her payment. (15-year-old Michelle did a double-take when they told her waht the story was about -- but she won the world championship with it.)

That's really bad if they picked it intentionally... and then what, didn't know, didn't understand, didn't care after all?
I am totally fine with a 14, 15 year old choosing music that's a bit sexual as long as it's entirely their own choice and they can really relate to it because it's what they listen to in their free time or something. As an adult I would talk with them about their choice, make sure they understand the full meaning and background and aren't driven by the search for provocation or "easy" applause or something, and if they really want it, fine.
But if a choreographer chooses something for a teenager they shouldn't put a classic like that on them. You just don't. For me that's similar to having a teenage daughter - if they want to dress in short hot pants and a belly top, I would talk about the implications with them and then let them wear it if they want it. But I wouldn't go and buy a super short 70s outfit for them and tell them - "here, I think in this you can really show a special kind of sensuality".
 

dorispulaski

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Now I've got a half-memory whose details are eluding me. Was it at Skate Canada that there was, for a year or two, a separate artistic event? And one year many viewers were disturbed by one skater, a very young (12-14 or so) girl, American I think, who did a program portraying a child forced into exotic dancing and prostitution and bitterly hating it? I can see the program and the skater vividly, although I can't remember her name or the music used, and I thought she did an excellent acting job with her characterization. But there was, understandably, a lot of backlash about it.


I think you are referring to Joanna Ng who won an artistic competition at Skate Canada. I believe she was skating to music from Miss Saigon. I think she was 11 or 12.


She went pro very soon.


Here she is at 12, winning the Skate Canada Interpretive event which only allowed double jumps, at most.

 
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Diana Delafield

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I think you are referring to Joanna Ng who won an artistic competition at Skate Canada. I believe she was skating to music from Miss Saigon. I think she was 11 or 12.


She went pro very soon.


Here she is at 12


:thank:My memory, waving goodbye every year at more departing brain cells, is grateful for this. I knew the child was an American with an Asian surname, and that she'd dropped out of the competition scene quite early, but that was all I could conjure up for facts although I had an image of her performance in my mind. I see I was wrong about her music choice and do now remember it was Miss Saigon.

Edit, since I had to go to YouTube to watch that Skate Canada interpretive event performance again, still not being able to see a video without that arrow to click on. The theme was inspired by Miss Saigon, but the music was not from the show. I think I have it all straightened out now and can retire to my rocking chair relieved to know I still have a few marbles rattling around there :). [Hold the rocking chair. I just remembered this is Tuesday which means my recreational partner and I skate this evening and I need to get some practicewear out of the laundry.]
 
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