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Kaguyahime - The Moon Princess x 2

Kylian/ Nederlands Danz Dans Theater

1: see at link: Arthaus 100 162


2. re-released as Arthaus Blu-ray 108 055


This is identical to the Arthaus version reviewed and welcomed orginally, except for the more compact box and better formatted and printed booklet, which includes a selection of colour photos.

Blu-ray is technically superior, but it needs to be played on appropriate DVD players.

Peter Grahame Woolf



Three Kylian Ballets

Music by IGOR STRAVINSKY (“Les Noces”)
Recorded in 1984. World Premiere 1982.
Dancers: Joke Zijlstra, Gerald Tibbs
Set Design and Costumes: John MacFarlane

Recorded in 1983. World Premiere 1978.

Dancers: Shane Carroll, Nils Christe, Alida Chase,
Gerald Tibbs, Marly Knoben, James Vincent, Sabine Kupferberg,
Ric McCullough, Susan McKee, Leigh Matthews,
Pauline Schenk, Peter Lawrence, Eve Walstrum, Michael
Sanders, Joke Zijlstra, Glen Eddy

Recorded in 1983. World Premiere 1975.
Dancers: Sabine Kupferberg, Leigh Warren
Set Design and Costumes: Walter Nobbe

Arthaus NPS: DVD 102 115

These are three early ballets by Jirí Kylián, one of the most reliable choreographers for supplying dance patterns to important 20 C music scores.

More abstract than the famous Nijinska version of Les Noces which I reviewed in 2001 - -

- - Les Noces had Zenaida Yanowsky as the bride at the still centre of the rituals of a Russian marriage as seen by Nijinska, who revived it for the Royal Ballet in 1966. A cool ballet as much about group patterns as the noisy realities of real weddings (caught by the voices) and one which I found disconcerting at first viewing in the '60s, but absorbing upon renewed acquaintance thirty years on (despite neighbours who kept muttering that they could not get on with it!). A good evening in The Royal Opera House, being filmed by the BBC for future TV transmission - -

- - Kylián's Les Noces captivates with its formations and athletic dance patterns.

However, we found ourselves now less convinced by his Symphony of Psalms, which we had seen in 2001 at Sadlers Wells:

- - The high spot for me in this Rambert season was Symphony of Psalms. With the music live (I Musici under Paul Hoskins and the thoroughly professional though actually amateur singers of the New London Chamber Choir) we had as well-honed an account of Stravinsky's score as you could hope to hear, and I do not remember it ever sounding better than it did at Sadler's Wells - -

But as to the ballet itself, given to a recording by Leonard Bernstein, I confirmed my doubts, which I share with The Independent's reviewer:

- - wish I could feel as enthusiastic about Kylian's choreography, created for Nederlands Dans Theater in 1978. The 16 dancers cleave space with a lush breadth and depth, their patterns interrupted by sudden flaring jumps like bursts of anguish, or rolls and runs that surge across the stage in a state of panic. The effect is beautiful and direct, but these days some of the motifs look hackneyed, while the non-specificity of the torment weakens the emotional conviction. Yes, yes, life is full of suffering, but exactly what kind of suffering afflicts these couples? - -

The third item is Torso to Takemitsu's Textures, a riveting piece which will reward repeated viewing, for two dancers depicting the last encounter of a couple about to be separated. The music includes noises, whispers and moanings mixed with sparse chords.

All these performances date from 1983-84 and are in 4:3 format.

Recommended to go with our other Kylian DVDs, especially Black & White, to which we return repeatedly. Despite Musical Pointers' greater musical expertise, we often find that dance videos bear repetition better than some operas, which often leave you with static images during the delivery of arias...

Peter Grahame Woolf