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A four part avant-garde work, Episodes grew out of Balanchine’s enthusiasm for Anton von Webern’s orchestral music, which Balanchine once wrote “fills the air like molecules.”
In homage to Anton von Webern Episodes was created to the composer’s complete orchestral works. Balanchine invited Martha Graham to choreograph the first section for her company; he choreographed the second for NYCB, with an additional solo for Paul Taylor, then a member of the Graham company. The work was presented in full for two seasons.
Since 1961, NYCB has performed its section alone, without the solo created for Taylor. The final section Ricercata, is Webern’s orchestration of a Bach composition; Virgil Thomson has described Webern’s music as “a dialect of Bach.”
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