Battle of the Ballet Suites

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tonight at 8 pm, WQXR will broadcast Paul McCartney’s score for Ocean’s Kingdom from its recent premier at the New York City Ballet. In anticipation, we’ll play a suite from a work that has long been a part of New York City Ballet’s core repertoire.

After a very close vote, it was Mendelssohn who won out. We played selections from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at noon.




The Nutcracker


A Midsummer Night's Dream

Comments [20]

Bernie from UWS

Michael- It's sad really. I was hoping that the move to Public Radio would make WQXR a more progressive institution - one that took risks with programming and introduced people to neglected pieces and unusual repertoire. Instead we get "relaxation" music and greatest-hits formulas. I guess their donors probably have a lot of say in all of this too.

Sep. 28 2011 07:17 PM
Michael Meltzer

You will only hear Hindemith on WQXR by way of Bill McLaughlin, Fred Child or Christopher O'Riley. There is no musical taste or discernment here, these are journalists whose programming judgments are based on "something they read someplace," or the current sales pitch of a record company.

Sep. 28 2011 01:50 PM
Peter O'Malley from Oakland, New Jersey

Re: WQXR and focusing on the obvious: that's what they've become, alas! Generally, at least once a week (probably more), you can hear (I'll leave out the composers: you fill 'em in): "Rob Roy Overture"; "Les Preludes"; "Marche Slav"; ""Till Eulenspiegel's, etc."; "Karelia Suite"; "Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage", and the like. They are not trying to reach people who necessarily have heard of Webern, or would like to hear "Le Sacre du Printemps" in its entirety. Witness those sill "Lite FM" style promotional ads they've been throwing at us lately, to (duh!!) get QXR listeners to listen to "classical music" because it's relaxing! Does that go, say, with Stravinsky? Oh well: it's better than nothing (though I do go over to WKCR now and then for more variety).

Sep. 28 2011 01:48 PM
Bernie from UWS

How about Stravinsky's Agon, or Hindemiths' Four Temperaments? Both are NYCB premieres

Sep. 28 2011 12:37 PM
Gail Jensen

I feel like dancing -- Nutcracker please!

Sep. 28 2011 12:03 PM
estelle h chodosh

How about the music by Webern for Episodes. That's also in the NYCB repertoir. When is the last time qxr played Webern?

Sep. 28 2011 11:32 AM
Evelyne Liebmann from Rye, NY

I have seen all three ballets at NYCB and while I am not a fan of "story" ballets, I have to cast my vote for the Mendelsohn. It is glorious and you get voices with the dance!

Sep. 28 2011 11:23 AM
Jeffrey DAddario from Staten Island

The Nutcracker!!!! NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Heard it too many times.

Sep. 28 2011 11:01 AM
anne from New York City

Can I vote for "none of the above"? Did you have to pick the most trite and overplayed ballet suites? How about the music for Firebird, Fancy Free, Prodigal Son, Afternoon of a Faun.

And to Tom from New City -- you may never get sick of Beethoven's 5th or the Nutcracker Suite -- but many of us are over saturated with them. With so much great music in the world, why does WQXR seem to focus on only the obvious.

Sep. 28 2011 11:01 AM

Although Mendelssohn's music was not composed as ballet music, but incidental music, I vote for it because it's a nice respite from too many Nutcrackers and Coppelias.

Sep. 28 2011 10:52 AM
David from Baltimore

Tchaikovsky reigns supreme, however, because of Tchaikovsky's appreciation of Delibes ballet music, let's hear Coppelia!

Sep. 28 2011 10:48 AM
Peter O'Malley from Oakland, New Jersey

Anything BUT the "Nutcracker"! Not because there is anything wrong with it, but it is September, after all, and QXR starts its saturation bombing of Christmas music early, so we'll be hearing it a lot starting soon. "Coppelia" is good, but, while "MSND" was not written as a ballet, its music is peerless for atmosphere and scene painting. It gets my vote.

Sep. 28 2011 10:43 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

Without a doubt, it has got to be Tchaikovsky. The music to the Nutcracker is beautiful in any season!

Sep. 28 2011 10:23 AM
Tom from New York City

It's got to be "The Nutcracker Suite" by a mile. Not that the other two are not lovely all by themselves but "The Nutcracker Suite" is like Beethoven's just NEVER get tired of hearing it!

Sep. 28 2011 10:09 AM
Steve from Milford, CT

My vote is for Coppelia. All three pieces are wonderful; I opt for the Delibes simply because it doesn't get nearly the exposure the other two enjoy.

Sep. 28 2011 09:47 AM
Edward from NYC

Mendelssohn without question. He is the last of the great composers. After him it is all downhill.

Sep. 28 2011 09:42 AM
Tom Walsh from Montclair, NJ

Mendelssohn. His music soars in A Midsummer Night's Dream. It's glorious. The others are wonderful, to be sure, but Mendelssohn's is the best of the three.

Sep. 28 2011 09:15 AM
John J. Christiano from Franklin NJ

The Nutcracker is time worn....but in a nice way. Time for change...Coppelia!

Sep. 28 2011 08:53 AM
concetta nardone from Elmont, NY

I do love the Nutcracker and Coppelia but must vote for Midsummer Nights Dream. It is Shakespeare's trippiest play. The music is gorgeous. There was a program on tv last week called The Stoned Age. It was about the works of art that might have been influenced by drugs. The program referred to Midsummer as the Bard's trippiest work and I agree. He might have been on something. Love the play and think it is a hoot. Took both my sons to see Coppelia and Nutcracker. They loved it but would never admit it now.

Sep. 28 2011 08:17 AM
Michael Meltzer

Tchaikovsky, for sentimental reasons.
When you did the comparison of chldren's compositions a week or two ago, it completely slipped my mind how huge in my early exposure to clasical music loomed the Nutcracker Suite, the album of 78's by Toscanini that I was given for a birthday.
It was profound, and much more magnetic than Peter & the Wolf or any of the others either you compared or I suggested. I wore those records out!
It may be the best children's music ever written. I still like it, too.

Sep. 28 2011 02:19 AM

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