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Known for its plush refinement, this streamlined leotard ballet arrests viewers with its formal beauty and simplicity.
The music for Monumentum pro Gesualdo was composed to honor the 400th birthday of Don Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa, (1560-1613), the 16th century’s most chromatic—and having been suspected of murder, most scandalous—composer. The score was first performed on September 27, 1960, at the 23rd Venice Music Festival at La Fenice, with Stravinsky conducting. Of the score, Stravinsky said, “My Monumentum was intended to commemorate the 400th anniversary of one of the most personal and original musicians ever born to my art.” Balanchine created this ballet in November 1960, less than two months after the score premiered.
Following their respective premieres by New York City Ballet in 1960 and 1963, Monumentum pro Gesualdo and Movements for Piano and Orchestra have almost always been performed as a pair, usually with the same principal couple cast in both.
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