Ballet Mécanique (), the original version of which we propose to re-enact ( slightly revamped), was an attempt by the American composer George Antheil. Antheil’s Paris debut was a riot – literally – and his reputation was sealed by a single work, Ballet Mécanique, which demanded a futuristic.

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Until the s, this version of the piece had never been performed in its original instrumentation, since the technology for linking and synchronizing multiple player pianos, whether 4 or 16, although theoretically possible when Antheil conceived the piece, turned out not to be practical. GalletAntheil arranged the first part of the Ballet for Welte-Mignon.

This thesis, and the implications that it originates, has been greatly reinforced in with the publication of the original reconstruction of kinematic synchronism according to it in the so-called Canonical version. Today, however, we have the technology to perform the piece with its original instrumentation.

BBC – Music – Review of Antheil – Ballet Mécanique

The true film score must have been much simpler and more precise, and possibly the one that would end up orchestrating in It argues, therefore, that the problem of original synchronization was never in the 16 synchronized pianolas of the giant score, [18] but the problem mecaniquf the simple version for the film must have been in the device that mmecanique to synchronize it mechanically: The crudeness, variety, humor, and downright perfection of certain men around me, their precise sense of utilitarian reality and its application in the midst of the life-and-death drama we were in During a period of convalescence in Villepinte he painted The Card Playersa canvas whose robot-like, monstrous figures reflect the ambivalence of his experience of war.

Bovendien zorgden onderlinge verschillen in lengte ervoor dat de film en de muziek decennialang een eigen leven leidden. Sixteen mechanical pianos flanked by helicopter blades, sirens, eight bells, three xylophones and numerous percussion instruments.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. They stay in better rhythmic agreement here and give a more ordered feel to this section. BBC Review This is a great chance to check out one of the least heard but most notorious works of This version was performed, using 10 human-played pianos, in Paris in and in an extremely ill-fated concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall inwhere it created such a fiasco–technically, musically, and sociologically–that it was not performed again for over 60 years.


In Novembera version of the score for live ensemble which required further editing, since live players couldn’t play it as fast as electronic instruments was premiered in Columbus, Ohio by an ensemble from balleh Peabody Conservatory of Musicconducted by Julian Pellicano.

All longer rests in the pianola part are notated in 8th rests, as if to suggest the exactness of the instrument. Antheil tried to replicate this scandal at Carnegie Hall by hiring provocateurs, but they were largely ignored. Eenzelfde drang naar verzadiging typeert de instrumentatie van de muzikale compositie.

Ballet mécanique (Antheil, George)

And it has now been done several times. Retrieved 18 October The airplane propellers were actually large electric fansinto which musicians would insert object such as wooden poles or leather straps to create sound, since the fans don’t make much noise. Voor tegengewicht zorgt Professor Jean-Paul Van Bendegem met een lezing die laveert tussen wetenschap, filosofie en muziek.

Een ritmische opeenvolging van beelden, dat is alles […]. C — The xylophones and pianolas play a new tune. Tracklistings come from MusicBrainz. The sole difference is that the 16 mechanical pianos have given way to a horde of 16 synthesisers.

Nevertheless, with respect to the original synchronized film, and despite the quality of last sound performance and its consistent reliability with Antheil’s original plans for its concert made by Lehrman himself and endorsed by the Schirmer publisher for the DVD Unseen Cinema: The meter rarely stays the same for more than three measures, distracting from the larger form of the music and instead highlighting the driving rhythms.

However before completion, director and composer agreed to go their different ways [ vague ]. Clips taken from anthheil discs may contain strong language. Where Stravinsky had deployed four pianos, Antheil opted for It’s one of those works it seems everyone’s heard of but never actually listened to; the only disappointment is that what we have here is Antheil’s revised version, which makes more reasonable demands than the original – only four pianos, two propellers and two electric bells!


Dudley Murphy Man Ray. Antheil uses pianolas for things that would be difficult for human players a 7-note chord at m, for example.

In September he almost died after a mustard gas attack by the German troops at Verdun. He produced many sketches of artillery pieces, airplanes, and fellow soldiers while in the trenches, and painted Soldier with a Pipe while on furlough.

The score and film were successfully combined in by Paul Lehrman, who used an edited version of the original orchestration in which he used mfcanique pianos recorded after the Lowell performance, with the rest of the instruments played electronically. The Art of Mmecanique Modernism music.

Ballet Mécanique – Wikipedia

This signals the beginning of a very long and thinly textured coda. Coda — A startling change occurs when all instruments cut out except for a lone bell m Although it was very successful in Paris, it was a huge flop when it came to New York, and in fact Antheil’s career as a “serious” composer never recovered from that debacle.

In it was revived by conductor Maurice Peress for a performance at Carnegie Hall, and at that time received its first and only recording. Antheil assiduously promoted the work, and even engineered his supposed “disappearance” while on a visit to Africa so as to get media attention for a preview concert. Mobilized in August for service in the French armyhe spent two years at the front in Argonne.

Antheil wrote several versions of the piece.

George Antheil : Ballet mécanique

After the concert, there were some fights in the street. B — Theme 2 m77 features the pianolas, supported by drums. As the bizarre instrumentation may suggest, this was no ordinary piece of music. He called himself ‘The Bad Boy of Music’. The musical work runs close to 30 minutes, while the mecaique is about 19 minutes balleg. It sounds like an onslaught of confusing chords, punctuated by random rings, wails, or pauses.

We will be offering a seven-minute extract, very slightly altered to obtain two or three points of intersection with the musical form. Retrieved 11 November