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A signature leotard ballet, Movements for Piano and Orchestra's dissonance and electric currents sweep on a wave of exacting precision.
The score for this ballet, composed during 1958-59, uses the serial technique and is divided into five sections. As the title indicates it is for solo piano and orchestra, and Stravinsky told Balanchine that Movements for Piano and Orchestra might just as well have been called “Electric Currents.” Balanchine said of this intricate piece: “Nothing gave me greater pleasure afterwards than Stravinsky’s saying the performance ‘was like a tour of a building for which I had drawn the plans but never explored the result.” Although Monumentum Pro Gesualdo and Movements for Piano and Orchestra were choreographed separately, Balanchine eventually paired them for performance, an arrangement that has been retained since 1966.
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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