This ballet is dedicated to George Balanchine. It is an expression of the choreographer's admiration for him. From a Russian perspective, it is also an appreciation for a man who so brillantly developed and transformed the traditions of Russian ballet and made possible the evolution of dance form the 19th to 21st century. It is not a biographical ballet, but there is the personality of the choreographer. Since Mr. Eifman was asked to create a ballet for New York City Ballet in the year of the Balanchine Centennial, he became absorbed in the world of Balanchine's ballets and fascinated by the personality of the choreographer. The result is Musagète. Boris Eifman pays tribute to the schooling, choreography, teaching, and genius of George Balanchine in this work. He interprets the choreographer’s personal and artistic life by shifting scale, moving back and forth from intimate pas de deux to large-scale sections for the corps. Mr. Eifman is assisted visually by a changing architectural background, costumes that are predominantly black and white, and dramatic lighting. There are frequent choreographic references from signature Balanchine works, and many moments showing the inspiration Balanchine derived from teaching his dancers.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was born into a family of musicians successful for over two centuries. Although later in his career he became most noted for his choral and other church-related compositions, he also left a large body of instrumental music for solo instruments and ensembles. While his popular reputation was eclipsed by the fame of his sons, musicians and composers revered him. Finally, in the 19th Century, Mendelssohn brought his music to public attention, and he became recognized as one of the greatest of all composers.
Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky (1840-1893) studied at the Conservatory in St. Petersburg, where Balanchine later studied piano in addition to dance. Tschaikovsky is one of the most popular and influential of all Romantic composers. His work is expressive, melodic, and grand in scale, with rich orchestrations. His output was prodigious and included chamber works, symphonies, concerti for various instruments, operas, and works for the piano. His creations for the ballet, composed in close partnership with Marius Petipa, are Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and The Sleeping Beauty.