Ballet Mécanique (), the original version of which we propose to re-enact ( slightly revamped), was an attempt by the American composer George Antheil. Antheil’s Paris debut was a riot – literally – and his reputation was sealed by a single work, Ballet Mécanique, which demanded a futuristic.

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The melody is mostly built from parallel series of consonant chords, sometimes sounding pentatonic but often making no tonal sense at all. On the opening night, the wigs of the audience members sitting in the front row were blown off by the helicopter blades, the sirens could not be stopped, it was omnishambolic. A — Theme 1 starts at the beginning of the piece. It argues, therefore, that the problem of original synchronization was never in the 16 synchronized pianolas of the giant score, [18] but the problem with the simple version for the film must have been in the device that had to synchronize it mechanically: This installation was at the Gallery from 12 March to 7 May Futurism and noise music.

Antheil en mettrait seize. In the Paris performances, beginning in Junethe fans were pointed up at the ceiling.

Ballet mécanique (Antheil, George)

At its various premieres, it caused tremendous controversy, not to mention fistfights. It sounds like an onslaught of confusing chords, punctuated by random rings, wails, or pauses. Use dmy dates from March All Wikipedia articles needing clarification Wikipedia articles needing clarification from January The image of a Cubist -style paper puppet of Charlot, by Leger, appears several times in the film.

So you’ll probably buy this new cd for the famous Ballet, but the reasons you’ll want to return to it come afterwards. Antheil tried to replicate this scandal at Carnegie Hall by hiring provocateurs, but they were largely ignored. The pentatonic melody, hinted in part B, returns m and gets developed in the context of the round.

George Antheil : Ballet mécanique

It moves through rhythmic and intervallic variations until a bridge into the next theme measure 38 in the original scoring. And it has now been done several times.

During a period of convalescence in Villepinte he painted The Card Playersa canvas whose robot-like, monstrous figures reflect the ambivalence of his experience of war. This version was performed, using 10 human-played pianos, in Paris in and in an extremely ill-fated concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall inwhere it created such a fiasco–technically, musically, and sociologically–that it was not performed again for over 60 years.


By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The Ballet is hard to surmise from just looking at the score—one must hear it to get a real sense of its chaos. The Ballet Mecanique Page. As it turned out, there was no way to keep so many pianolas synchronized, so early performances combined the four parts into a single set of pianola rolls and augmented the two human-played pianos with 6 or more additional instruments.

BBC – Music – Review of Antheil – Ballet Mécanique

It alternates between irregular measures of complete silence and pianola with percussion. Where Stravinsky had deployed four pianos, Antheil opted for The form was cast in one piece “like a tree made of steel, while the style was at times cool and glistening and at other times burning like an electric oven”. Bovendien zorgden onderlinge verschillen in lengte ervoor dat de film en de muziek decennialang een eigen leven leidden.

balet Unfortunately, these piano rolls are now thought meacnique be lost. Find out baloet about our use of this dataand also our policy on profanity Find out more about our use of this data. The score indicates the last measure of the piece to be ended with the pianos and drums only, but modern performances have the xylophones joining back in and doubling the melody of the pianolas to create a more firm, solid, and recognizable ending.

It was loud and percussive — a medley of noises, much as the Italian Futurists envisioned new music of the 20th century. Released 18 September That is to say, that the film was going from dadaist to cubistgradually, which explains, in part, doubts about its ascription to a certain aesthetic.

This is a great balelt to check out one of the least heard but most notorious works of the 20th century The featured film print is the original version, premiered in Vienna on 24 September by Frederick Kiesler. It’s one of those works it seems everyone’s heard of but never mceanique listened to; the only disappointment is that what we have here is Antheil’s revised version, which makes more reasonable demands than the original – only four pianos, two propellers and two electric bells!


The original orchestration was first realized in by Maurice Peress. Maar niets liep zoals gehoopt: In September he almost died after a mustard gas attack by the German troops at Verdun. The xylophones eventually cut out to make way for a serene pianola passage. There are differences from the original AB balet, including new bitonal passage m and miniature round m between xylophones and pianolas.

About the Ballet Mécanique

However, the piece is definitely structured in a sonata rondo. Nevertheless, with respect to the original synchronized film, and emcanique the quality of last sound performance and its consistent reliability with Antheil’s original plans for its concert made by Lehrman himself and endorsed by the Schirmer publisher for the DVD Unseen Cinema: Breakfast BBC Radio 3.

Find out more about our use of this dataand also our policy on antyeil. After the concert, there were some fights in the street.

The true film score must have been much simpler and more precise, and possibly the one that would end up orchestrating in Trenton’s ‘bad boy’ of music”. Although mdcanique was very successful in Paris, it was a huge flop when it came to New York, and in fact Antheil’s career as a “serious” composer never recovered from that debacle. Sixteen mechanical pianos flanked by helicopter blades, sirens, eight bells, three xylophones and numerous percussion instruments.

The airplane propellers were actually large electric fansinto which musicians would insert object such as wooden poles antheill leather straps to create sound, since the fans don’t make much noise. Its instrumental parts are extremely difficult to play, and it lasts, in its various versions, between 14 and 30 minutes.

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