Choreography by: Peter Martins

Music by: Michael Torke

Martins' third collaboration with Torke uses four different couples in four diverse movements and employs an unusual score that has five solo instruments (three keyboards, a xylophone, and a marimba) along with a full orchestra. Torke composed each eight minute movement to virtually the same melody line, orchestration and rhythm, but with different chords and in different keys. The first and fourth movements are dissonant and moody; the second movement, in E minor is quirky and unexpected; the third, in E major, is flirtatious and upbeat. Each couple complements the composition to produce a work that is unsentimental, hard-edged and unromantic but also exciting, uplifting and contemporary.
Michael Torke (1961- ) a 1984 graduate of the Eastman School of Music, enjoyed his first critical success the same year with his premiere work, Vanada. Torke's early exposure to jazz and rock is powerfully expressed in the propulsive rhythms and exciting energy of his colorfully classical compositions. In fact, he envisions musical impulses in terms of color. His orchestration for the 1985 work Ecstatic Orange is dappled with such images as "Orange Pekoe in Flames" and "Unripe Pumpkin"". Martins used this music in 1987 for his ballet Ecstatic Orange and another Torke piece for his 1988 ballet, Black and White. Torke says that Echo is a departure from the other pieces in terms of structure and composition. He states: "This piece explores something different from anything I've done before ... In visual art they can take an image and produce a new image simply by tracing the first one. Well, I've found a musical equivalent to that ... What you're getting is something essentially the same but with an extremely different character."

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Slate (1989)
June 15, 1989, New York City Ballet, New York State Theater
Original Cast
Kyra Nichols, Heather Watts, Darci Kistler, Suzanne Farrell, Adam Luders, Jock Soto, Jeppe Mytskov, Robert Hill