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Choreography By Balanchine / Tzigane, Andante from Divertimento No 15, The Four Temperaments, Selections from Jewels, Stravinsky Violin Concerto

4.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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(Jul 16, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Choreography By Balanchine / Tzigane, Andante from Divertimento No 15, The Four Temperaments, Selections from Jewels, Stravinsky Violin Concerto

Product Details

  • Format: PAL, DVD
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0), Unknown (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Music
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000228SWS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,687 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
Don't waste your money. Unfortunately, this long awaited DVD was transferred badly and the sound in part one is out of synch by several counts. Suzanne Farrell and Merrill Ashley are dancing off the music and it is very annoying. It is unbelievable that something like this could happen when you take into consideration that Balanchine was probably the most musical choreographer that ever lived. Never pedantic, always magical. I did inform the Balanchine Trust. They were surprised and are looking into it. They are aware that the transfer was done incorrectly. The company that produced the DVD, Nonesuch was also called but did not respond. Wait until it?s fixed unless you like dancing 4 counts behind the music.
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Worth it for Suzanne Farrell's abondoned return to the fold in Tzigane - the moment in the coda when she bends back into Martin's supporting arm is worth the price of admission. Weakness: they omit the Rudies section of Jewels supposedly because Heather Watts was not happy with her performance. Nice to see Kay Mazzo again. Wish they would release Serenade and Duo Concertante, the initial programs of the Great Performance Balanchine series.
Included:
Tzigane: Farrell/Martins
Andante from Divertimento No 15 w/ Ashley, Calegari, Pillarre,
Saland, Spohn, Bennett, Casttelli, Weiss
The Four Temperments w/Cook, Luders, Neary, Ashley, Duell
Selections from Jewels
Emeralds: Ashley, Ebitz, Bourne, Duell, Watts, von Aronldingen, Lavery
Diamonds pas de deux: Farrell/Martins
Stranvinsky Violin Concerto: Mazzo, von Arnoldigen, Martins, Cook
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YES....let this and the other 1 star review stop you from buying this DVD. The works on it are masterpieces, but the lousy inexcusable tech problems do not deserve your hard earned money! The music is off by maybe a second, but c'mon....this isn't American Bandstand. It's BALLET...precision is the rule. I would hope you would care enough to mind, whether you've seen the ballets before or not.

"The 4 Temperaments" is the best of Balenchine. A piece of perfection to fantastic music by Hindeminth. The choreography actually enhances the already brilliant score. But if dancers are not dancing to the beats, it is ruined and that's what you have here. It is unwatchable!
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I recently bought this DVD, and the out-of-sync problem is still not fixed. The problem is blatantly noticeable with "Tzigane", no less because of the telltale hand-slap just before the end of the ballet. With "The 4 Temperaments", it's rather like a niggling pain that just gets on your nerves. I've also written to Nonesuch, but as with the other reviewer, they haven't responded. Having said all that, however, I would still highly recommend it if only because it is still a valuable record of NYCB in its golden age. Farrell in "Diamonds" is peerless. The other alternative would be to get it on VHS, which doesn't have the out-of-sync problem.
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I remember the PBS television broadcast of these ballets and recall that the audio synch problem existed. It could be a result of the original audio dubbing and perhaps cannot be fixed. Yes, it compromises the full enjoyment of the performances but is unlikely to be fixed after all these years. Even a slightly marred record of Suzanne Farrell and others in Balanchine performances supervised by him when he was alive should not deter you. Nobody seems to mind that he slightly altered the choreography to suit the television medium. Give it a break and appreciate that the fact that you can see the artists for whom the ballets were created.
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PBS: Great Performances > Dance In America > Choreography by Balanchine >:

Parts 1 and 2 of 4 (1977)

I saw some of this series on TV back in 1978. I was awe-striken. I was a twenty-year fan of Stravinsky's music already and impressed by the composer's high opinion of this dance master (Mr. B). Seeing it for myself (being unable to go to NYC and actually attend) was totally thrilling and indelibly memorable.

Not mentioned here by other reviewers is that this is parts 1 and 2 of 4 parts made in Nashville TN. By the time I found out about the HVS tapes and their tranfer to DVD, I already had read Bernard Taper's biography of GB (with super photographs!) and became a Balanchine admirer in general (not just Stravinsky-Balanchine!). Some PBS celebration shows helped.

I like all of it. I haven't been bothered by any video/audio unsynchronicity (if there really is any) on this DVD.

Let me rave on about my very favorite dances.

The Four Temperaments, music by Hindemith - I am amused by the tale that Mr. B had some cash ahead after working for Broadway and Hollywood, so he commissioned the piece of music from Hindemith. I don't know of anyone else who would celebrate a financial return into the black this way. Mr. B didn't even have a dance company at the time. But then he and Lincoln Kirstein started Ballet Society, with would end up evolving into NYCB. The story is pure Balanchine: the music comes first; the dance makes the music visual.

Stravinsky Violin Concerto, music by Stravinsky (of course!) - Mr. B made two choreographies of this concerto: Balustrade in the 1940s and Violin Concerto after Stravinsky's passing on. This one is the second of these.
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