Richibi’s Weblog

Just another weblog

Tag: Sergei Diaghilev

“The Afternoon of a Faun” – Vaslav Nijinsky‏


                           Program for L’après-midi d’un faune”  (1912)

                                                       Léon Bakst
though the reference to Pan is not direct
in the title of Nijinsky‘s choreographic 
rendition of Debussy‘s 1894 symphonic
classic, itself a musical transposition
of Stéphane Mallarmé‘s 1876 poem, 
L’après-midi d’un faune“, or, in English, 
connections are unmistakably implicit, 
not only in the story which is told, but 
also in the elements of the dance, which 
borrows heavily from Grecian urns, their 
static, angular poses
also Mallarmé makes specific allusions to
Syrinx herself, among other nymphs, in his 
seminal work, not to mention to the deity’s
eponymous flute
the only change to the original production 
dancers, here, Rudolf Nureyev performs 
with the Joffrey Ballet, where Vaslav
Nijinskythe choreographer himself, 
danced with Sergei Diaghilev‘s Ballets
Russes in the show that made history, 
the sets and costumes by Léon Bakst 
remain also unchanged, this is what the 
audience saw May 12, 1912, at the very  
the piece shocked even irreverent Paris,
of course, for its overt and unapologetic
eroticism, it‘ll probably even shock you, 
I thought, this is what happened to Berlin 
after the First World War, a reconstructed
chthonic* resurgence at the death of an 
old order, the Age of Aquarius after the 
nuclear scare, “Hair
famously, Auguste Rodin loved it
chthonic: of what makes you snort, grunt,
   instinctive forces, the ones which make  
   a young man’s fancy turn to, well, love 
   or worse

“Three Movements from Petroushka” – Igor Stravinsky‏

"Ballets Russes" - August Macke

Ballets Russes (1912)

August Macke


Donald, I said to my friend, the
musicologist, what’s the plural
of tenuto

I’d been lining up what I call my
“articles of pace”, the musical
notations that indicate tempo,

rubato, of course, for time stretched,
the bottom of a dip when your partner
pauses at the end of your arm where
you steal a private moment during
otherwise waltz time, or tango

rubato must be in the middle of a
bar cause a stolen moment needs
space to return to its more natural
rhythm, equilibrium

a ritardando, or rallentando, slows
down but at the end of a bar, or
musical statement, often at the very
end of a piece, for an introspective,
say, ending

an accelerando is its opposite,
speeding up the beat, and will
continue till it reaches its apogee,
climax, as it were

a tenuto holds, caresses, one note,
or one chord, only, before proceeding
any further

all of these words, incidentally, are
adverbs, not nouns, but through
usage have assimilated the idioms
of nouns, therefore singulars and
plurals, articles and adjectives

what’s the plural of tenuto, I’d

Donald, always a sport, answered
tersely, tenuti, grinning

you’re kidding me, I replied, boy,
will I have fun with that

two tenuti, three tenuti, four tenuti,
five, six tenuti, seven tenuti, eight
tenuti, jive, I continued, racking up
immediate levity, not to mention
momentum, and cadence

count the tenuti in this masterpiece,
Stravinsky‘s Three Movements
from Petroushka
a programmatic
piece, Petroushka is a puppet in love
with a ballerina, but she’s in love
with a Moor, more about Moors later,
maybe, it could get controversial

Petroushka, distressed, challenges
the Moor, but the Moor kills him

Petroushka returns as a ghost, but
ineffectually, cause he’s really only,
finally, a puppet

Vaslav Nijinsky played Pertroushka
in the original production with
Diaghilev‘s Ballets Russes, June 13,
1911, in Paris, the rest is history

in 1921 Stravinsky wrote an arrangement
for virtuosic, he specified, piano, using
three scenes only from the ballet as

1 – Danse russe (Russian Dance)
2 – Chez Pétrouchka (Petroushka’s Room)
3 – La semaine graisse (The Shrovetide Fair)

they’re fast, very fast, prestississimo,
you’ll miss the breaks if you blink,
where you’d be likely to find, if any,

good luck


“Le sacre du printemps”, then, and later

 Russisches Ballett (I) - August Macke

                            Russisches Ballett (I)  (1912)

                                          August Macke

Le sacre du printemps”, Stravinsky’s original, French,
title for “The Rite of Spring”, was choreographed by
Vaslav Nijinsky, a legendary ballet superstar of the
time, to sets, costumes and story by Nicholas Roerich,
a name essentially now forgotten 
Sergei Diaghilev, the equally legendary impresario,
produced the show for his hot then Ballets Russes,
which opened at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
in Paris, May 29th, 1913, a hundred years but one
since, nearly to the hour
minus of course the Ballets Russes
here a celebrated alternate version, 1970, from
highly regarded choreographer mid Twentieth Century,
with dancers to prove it – this effort now considered
may springtime bring you also meanwhile myriad
other roses