Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet by Jennifer Homans

By Jennifer Homans


For greater than 400 years, the artwork of ballet has stood on the middle of Western civilization. Its traditions function a checklist of our previous. Lavishly illustrated and fantastically instructed, Apollo's Angels--the first cultural historical past of ballet ever written--is a groundbreaking paintings. From ballet's origins within the Renaissance and the codification of its simple steps and positions less than France's Louis XIV (himself an avid dancer), the artwork shape wound its approach in the course of the courts of Europe, from Paris and Milan to Vienna and St. Petersburg. within the 20th century, émigré dancers taught their paintings to a iteration within the usa and in Western Europe, atmosphere off a brand new and radical transformation of dance. Jennifer Homans, a historian, critic, and previous specialist ballerina, wields a data of dance born of devoted perform. Her admiration and love for the ballet, asEntertainment Weekly notes, brings "a dancer's grace and sure-footed agility to the page."

NAMED the most effective BOOKS OF THE 12 months by means of THE long island instances booklet REVIEWLOS ANGELES TIMESSAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLEPUBLISHERS WEEKLY

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Another is 'Nacht und Traume' whose poem is by one of the members of Schubert's Viennese circle, Matthaus von Collin ( 177 9- 182 4); a beautiful adagio greeting to night, repose, and respite from the turgid day, and one of the best-loved of all 46 THE CON C E R T SON G COM PAN ION Lieder. Two more which must be mentioned are 'Die Allmacht' (1825) and '1m Friihling' (1826). 'Die Allmacht' is a setting of a poem by one of Schubert's grander friends, Bishop Johann Ladislav Pyrker von Felso-Eor, who, at the period of the song's composition, was Patriarch of Venice and was soon to become Archbishop of Erlau.

Der Sanger' was the first of the Harper's songs to be set by Schubert. ', ;the most famous lyrical poem not only in Goethe, but in all German literature, a poem whose resonances extend far beyond its apparent meaning in ,the context of the novel. It is a poem which speaks of a northerner's Sehnsucht for the south, of a child's desire for a dream world, of an adult's despairing cry after a vanished golden childhood. It has the truth, relevance and beauty of great poetry, and is so complete in itself that one sees both how and why composers were lured into setting it, and how and why they could not but fail.

With hardly an exception, these are magnificent songs. The six Rellstab settings include the amiable 'Liebesbotschaft' ; the romantic 'Standchen' which is, without question, the most widely-known Schubert song, and which has suffered countless tmnscriptions and arrangements; and an outburst of wrathful despair, 'Aufenthalt'. Schubert's Heine songs are all such masterpieces that one cannot help regretting that the composer had not been able to read Heine earlier than 1828. But the poet's 'Buch der Lieder' was not published until 1827 so we must be grateful that Schubert seized on some of these poems so quickly.

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