Ellen Taaffe Zwilich

Performing Ensemble: Orchestra
Duration: 28:00
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

"Tanzspiel", Ballet in four scenes, was written on commission by the New York City Ballet's American Music Festival and first performed at the New York State Theater on April 27, 1988. It was choreographed by Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins.
The composer recalls:

"I sat down with Peter and discussed what we might do together. Then, when I'd begun the piece, I came in and batted out ideas on the piano. I was conscious of the stage as I wrote. I had a clear idea of how many people were on it during particular passages. If you think of the two extremes of ballet music -- choreographing a score to music already written for instrumental performance and the old kind of commission ("Give me 32 bars of polka here," those incredible laundry lists of specifications ballet composers were once given) -- I worked somewhere in the middle. I haven't written a piece of music to order, but the piece did grow out of collaboration with Peter."

The 28-minute "Tanzspiel" is scored for triple winds (2 contrabassoons), brass 4-2-2-1, timpani, 2 percussion, piano and strings. It is published by Merion Music (Theodore Presser Company).

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the New York City Ballet's American Music Festival
Composition Date 1988
Orchestration 3 3 3 4 - 4 2 2 1; Timp. 2Perc. Pno. Str.
Premiere 27 April, 1988. New York City Ballet and Peter Martins, choreographer, Robert Irving conducting.


I. Allegro energico
II. Allegro molto e con brio
III. Moderato flessibile
IV. Maestoso

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