Ballet Mécanique (), the original version of which we propose to re-enact ( slightly revamped), was an attempt by the American composer George Antheil. Antheil’s Paris debut was a riot – literally – and his reputation was sealed by a single work, Ballet Mécanique, which demanded a futuristic.

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The sole difference is that the 16 mechanical pianos have given way to a horde of 16 synthesisers. The Ballet is hard to surmise from just looking at the score—one must hear it to get a real sense of its chaos.

BBC Review This is a great chance to check out one of the least heard but most notorious works of There’s the Serenade for String Orchestra, which feels like Dag Wiren crossed with Shostakovich; then the tiny minute Symphony for Five Instruments one of Antheil’s own favourites which sounds like an excellent piece of newly-discovered neo-classical Stravinsky Tracklistings come from MusicBrainz.

The original orchestration was first realized in by Maurice Peress. Bovendien zorgden onderlinge verschillen in lengte ervoor dat de film en de muziek decennialang een eigen leven leidden. We see this trend in the film from beginning to end. This version was performed, using 10 human-played pianos, in Paris in and in an extremely ill-fated concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall meaniquewhere it created such a fiasco–technically, musically, and sociologically–that it was not performed again for over 60 years.

Clips taken from original discs may contain mecaniqhe language. Antheil himself was not a Dadaist, though he had many friends and supporters in that community. Today, however, we have the technology to perform the piece with its original instrumentation.

We will be offering a seven-minute extract, very slightly altered to obtain two or three points of intersection with the musical form.

George Antheil : Ballet mécanique

The measures of silence get longer until the listener begins to wonder whether the piece is already over. He produced many sketches of artillery pieces, airplanes, and fellow soldiers while in the trenches, and painted Soldier with a Pipe while on furlough.


On the opening night, the wigs of the audience members sitting in the front row were blown off by the helicopter blades, the sirens could not be stopped, it was omnishambolic. A’ — Xylophones return in triple meter to recall Theme 1 m The very first, written in calls for 16 player pianos playing four separate parts, for four bass drums, three xylophones, a tam-tam, seven electric bells, a siren, and three different-sized airplane propellors high wood, low wood, and metalas well as two human-played pianos.

BBC – Music – Review of Antheil – Ballet Mécanique

Retrieved 11 November The form was cast in one piece “like a tree made of steel, while the style was at times cool and glistening and at other times burning like an electric oven”. Voor tegengewicht zorgt Professor Jean-Paul Van Bendegem met een lezing die laveert tussen wetenschap, filosofie en muziek. In response to the technical difficulties, Antheil quickly re-arranged the piano parts, changing the orchestration to include unspecified multiple of two conventional pianos and a single player piano.

It was loud and percussive — a medley of noises, much as the Italian Futurists envisioned new music of the 20th century. The crudeness, variety, humor, and downright perfection of certain men around me, their precise sense of utilitarian reality and its application in the midst of the life-and-death drama we were in The Art of Noises Modernism music.

About the Ballet Mécanique

The Ballet Mecanique Page. Unfortunately, these piano rolls are now antjeil to be lost. As it turned out, there was no way to keep so many pianolas synchronized, so early performances combined the four parts into a single set of pianola rolls and augmented the two human-played pianos with 6 or more additional instruments.

Finally, there is a crescendo of pianola, a flurry of percussion and a bang to mark the real ending. It is considered one of the masterpieces of early experimental filmmaking. C — The xylophones and pianolas play a new tune.

Oxford University Press Retrieved 18 October At its various premieres, it caused tremendous controversy, not to mention fistfights. Breakfast BBC Radio 3. B — Theme 2 m77 features the pianolas, supported by drums.

Sixteen mechanical pianos flanked by helicopter blades, sirens, eight bells, three xylophones and numerous percussion instruments. From what ever angle it is tackled, the final cut fails to match the score.


This page has been archived and is no longer updated. But Antheil and the filmmakers worked separately from each other, and when they finally put the music and the film together, they realized they didn’t work at all — for one thing, the music was twice as long as the film. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.

In the yearthe more restrained and neo-classical composer returned to the music and rearranged it to produce a lighter rhythm. Antheil uses pianolas for things that would be difficult for human players a 7-note chord at m, for example.

In de Handelsbeurs wordt een alternatieve versie gepresenteerd waarin zowel de kracht van de autonome vallet als de combinatie van film en muziek een kans krijgen. In Novembera version of the score for live ensemble which required further editing, since live players couldn’t play it as fast as electronic instruments was premiered in Columbus, Ohio by an ensemble from the Mecanuque Conservatory of Musicconducted by Julian Pellicano.

And it has now been done several times. The image of a Cubist -style paper puppet of Charlot, by Leger, appears several times in the film. This signals the beginning of a very long and thinly textured coda. Although the film was intended to use Antheil’s score as a soundtrack, anthel two parts were not brought together until the s.

A — Theme 1 starts at the beginning of the piece. This section descends into increasing chaos starting m which signals a transition into part C m Views Read Edit View history. During a period of convalescence in Villepinte he painted The Card Playersa canvas whose robot-like, monstrous figures reflect the ambivalence of his experience of war. In balket, Antheil wrote a shortened and much tamer version for four pianos, four xylophones, two electric bells, two propellers, timpaniglockenspieland other percussion.

I was stunned by the sight of the breech of a 75 millimeter in the sunlight.