Stravinsky Violin Concerto
George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major
Photo © Paul Kolnik
In 1941, Balanchine choreographed Balustrade for the Ballet Russe to Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto in D. When he returned to the score three decades later, he could no longer remember his original choreography. But Balanchine was not at all disturbed by the loss. “What I did then was for then,” he said, “and what I wanted to do to this music for our Stravinsky Festival… represented more than 30 years’ difference.” The new choreography follows the score directly: An opening “Toccata” and a final “Capriccio” enclose two central “Arias,” which form contrasting pas de deux for two different couples.
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), born in Russia, is acknowledged as one of the great composers of the twentieth century. His work encompassed styles as diverse as Romanticism, Neoclassicism, and Serialism. His ballets for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes included The Firebird, Petrushka, The Rite of Spring, and Apollo. His music has been used in over thirty ballets originating with New York City Ballet from 1948 through 1987, including Danses Concertantes, Orpheus, The Cage, Agon, Monumentum pro Gesualdo, Rubies, Symphony in Three Movements, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Concerto for Two Solo Pianos, Suite from L’Histoire du Soldat, Concertino, and Jeu de Cartes.