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Balanchine's Tchaikovsky: Conversations with Balanchine on His Life, Ballet, and Music
Upon his death in the spring of 1983, George Balanchine left behind no autobiographical writings. He had, however, been conducting over his last two years a continuous series of private interviews with Russian musicologist Solomon Volkov. Their subject was Tchaikovsky, the composer who exercised perhaps the most profound lifelong influence on the great choreographer. And t ...more
Paperback, 202 pages
Published September 7th 1992 by Anchor
(first published 1985)
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It’s amazing this book exists because aside from founding American ballet, Balanchine is famous for two things: his music and his quotes. (So he’s thirdly famous for his ladies but we won’t get into that here.) You can say what you like about Balanchine’s style but you can’t criticize his musicality. He used a huge range of music from the most astringent Stravinsky to the most romantic Faure, traditional Americana, and that song I only know as a camp song (“comet, it makes your mouth turn green” ...more
Nearly finished and find this quite a bit more than its title suggests. It's not just Tchaikovsky Mr B explores, though he sheds more than ample light on the composer. We find out so much about the choreographer's childhood and adolescence in St. Petersburg, his early days with Diaghalev, his attitudes about traditional ballet, his appreciation and criticism of other composers and his religious and nationalistic attitudes. As I read other books about Mr B and his work, I realize the most often q ...more
This is more than a book about Tchaikovsky, although the insights into this most gifted Russian composer's life and musical creations are eye-opening. Written from a series of intellectual conversations, disguised as interviews, which the author, Solomon Volkov, had with George Balanchine shortly before Balanchine's death in 1983, the book is also a profound exegesis on the work of the great choreographer, especially on how music -- Russian music -- informed everything he did. A must-read for ba ...more
Aug 15, 2013 Tweedledum rated it really liked it · review of another edition
This book is like travelling back in time to read Balanchine's conversations with Volkov. While the starting point for the conversations is his memories of Tchaikovsky we learn so much more along the way OT least about Balanchine himself.
Solomon Moiseyevich Volkov (born 17 April 1944 in Uroteppa, Tadzhik SSR) is a Russian journalist and musicologist. He is best known for Testimony, which was published in 1979 following his emigration from the Soviet Union in 1976. He claimed that the book was the memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich, as related to himself.More about Solomon Volkov...