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Saturday, January 07, 2006

CD REVIEW - Ballets Russes

Music by Todd Boekelheide and David Conte
Intrada MAF 7097 (U.S.)
18 Tracks 31:33 mins

This documentary from Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine explores the history of the famous Ballets Russes Companies between 1909 and 1962 and their groundbreaking tours throughout Russia, Australia and America, and includes interviews with many of the dancers, now in their 80s and 90s.
The music is provided by Todd Boekelheide, who has written scores for more than 80 documentaries and dramatic films, including his Emmy-winning Kids of Survival: The Life and Art of Tim Rollins and the KOS for the same filmmakers in 1999; and David Conte, Professor of Compoition at at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and composer of three operas and over 60 works with the E.C. Schirmer Music Company.
Their orchestral score beautifully and sensitively underscores the documentary, giving much breathing space to individual instruments within the orchestra, with the emphasis on woodwinds, strings, French Horn, harp and piano. There is an overall sense of genteel nostalgia, with just an occasional more propulsive moment like in Into the Fray and On the Train. The album's final track Where Are They Now? with its soaring ending, leaves one with a positively warm glow.


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