Naïve and Sentimental Music

Choreography by: Peter Martins

Music by: John Adams

Developing from a dreamy, mysterious mood into a propulsive, lively finale, this three-part ballet featuring an all principal dancer cast is full of pas de deux exploring the metamorphis of romance.

John Adams’ Naïve and Sentimental Music was written between the spring of 1998 and the following winter, and was first performed on February 19, 1999 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The work is dedicated to the conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen, who conducted the premiere. Adams calls the large-scale work “the most ambitious of anything I’ve yet to write,” aside from his operas. The title refers to the German poet Friedrich Schiller’s ideas of naïve and sentimental form. A symphony in three movements, he calls the first, “Naïve and Sentimental Music,” an essay on melody in which a simple diatonic tune leaves the nest and ventures out into the world. The second movement, “Mother of the Man,” is a gloss on a Busoni berceuse, and the last movement, “Chain to the Rhythm,” is full of familiar Adamsian flora and fauna, culminating in a fast, virtuoso surge of orchestral energy. Long a champion of contemporary American Music, Peter Martins has choreographed to music by John Adams on eight previous occasions. For New York City Ballet’s first performance in its newly renovated home, the David H. Koch Theater, Martins once again turned to Adams to create a work for nearly all of Company’s principal dancers.

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Naïve and Sentimental Music
November 24, 2009, New York City Ballet, David H. Koch Theater
Original Cast
Sterling Hyltin, Darci Kistler, Maria Kowroski, Tiler Peck, Jared Angle, Tyler Angle, Charles Askegard

Costumes by
Liliana Casabal
Lighting by
Mark Stanley