Saturday, 10 April 2010

British Composers at the Vic-Wells Ballet (1931-1935)

A little list today: of English Ballet music scores. Often ballet is performed to a wide variety of music edited, re-scored and often reworked to suit the ‘book’ and the dancers. However between 1931 and 1935 the Vic-Wells Ballet company commissioned or utilised scores by a variety of British composers – some well-known, others less so. Some of these scores have survived as concert pieces in their own right.

Suite de Danses: J.S. Bach arranged by Eugene Goosesens
The Jackdaw and the Pigeons: Hugh Bradford
Regatta: Gavin Gordon
Job: Ralph Vaughan Williams
The Jew in the Bush: Gordon Jacob
Narcissus and Echo: Arthur Bliss
Rout: Arthur Bliss
The Nursery Suite: Edward Elgar
The Origins of Design: Handel arranged by Thomas Beecham
Douanes: Geoffrey Toye
The Scorpions of Ysit: Gavin Gordon
Pomona: Constant Lambert
The Birthday of Oberon: Purcell arranged by Constant Lambert
The Haunted Ballroom: Geoffrey Toye
Uncle Remus: Gordon Jacob
The Rake’s Progress: Gavin Gordon

Unfortunately, less than half of these ballet scores are available on CD or MP3. And what is known about Hugh Bradford, Gavin Gordon and Geoffrey Toye? Precious little I would imagine.
I plan to explore some of these works, composers and other British ballet music in the future.

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