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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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! The form was cast in one piece “like a tree made of steel, while the style was at times cool and glistening and balleg other times burning like an electric oven”.

Retrieved from ” https: There’s the Serenade for String Orchestra, which feels like Dag Wiren crossed with Shostakovich; then the tiny minute Symphony for Five Instruments one of Antheil’s own favourites which sounds like an excellent piece of newly-discovered neo-classical Stravinsky Maar niets liep zoals gehoopt: Antheil tried to replicate mwcanique scandal at Carnegie Hall by hiring provocateurs, but they were largely ignored.

Mobilized in August for service in the French armyhe spent two years at the front in Argonne.

About the Ballet Mécanique

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. Antheil wrote several versions of the piece.

Coda — A startling change occurs when all instruments cut out except for a lone bell mecaniue At its various premieres, it caused tremendous controversy, not to mention fistfights. Inthe University of Massachusetts Lowell Percussion Ensemble presented the first performance of the original score without the film using 16 player pianos and live players.


Sixteen mechanical pianos flanked by helicopter blades, sirens, eight bells, three xylophones and numerous percussion instruments.

We see this trend in the film from beginning to end. Antheil himself was not a Dadaist, though he had many friends and supporters in that community.

This page has been archived and is no longer updated. He produced many sketches of artillery pieces, airplanes, and antneil soldiers while in the trenches, and painted Soldier with a Pipe while on furlough.

Use dmy dates from March All Wikipedia articles needing clarification Wikipedia articles needing clarification from January BBC Review This is a great chance to check out one of the least heard but most notorious works of We persist until the observer’s eye and spirit cannot stand any more, exhausting the entertainment value until it becomes positively unbearable. Among these, player pianosairplane propellersand electric bells stand zntheil onstage, moving as machines do, and providing the visual side of the ballet.

Although the film was intended to use Antheil’s score as a soundtrack, the two parts were not brought together until the s.

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George Antheil : Ballet mécanique

The image of a Cubist -style paper puppet of Charlot, by Leger, appears several times in the film. 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.

Bovendien zorgden onderlinge verschillen in lengte ervoor dat de film en de muziek decennialang een eigen leven leidden.

Mecanjque ritmische opeenvolging van beelden, dat is alles […]. He called himself ‘The Bad Boy of Music’. Dudley Murphy Man Ray. Antheil en mettrait seize. This is not strictly a repeat of Theme 1 but another variation and development upon it.

George Antheil : Ballet mécanique | Ictus

Finally, there is a crescendo of pianola, a flurry of percussion and a bang to mark the real ending. It alternates between irregular measures of complete silence and pianola with percussion. The Ballet is hard to surmise from just looking at the score—one must hear it to get a real sense of its chaos.


It is easily identified by the oscillating melody in the xylophones. However, the piece is definitely structured in a sonata rondo. Futurism and noise music. 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.

There are differences from the original AB part, including new bitonal passage m and miniature round m between xylophones and pianolas.

The original orchestration was first realized in by Maurice Peress. Spalding and his Philadelphians are feisty enough in the Ballet, refined and reflective in the other works.

Tracklistings come from MusicBrainz. Voor tegengewicht zorgt Professor Jean-Paul Mecanque Bendegem met een lezing die laveert tussen wetenschap, filosofie antyeil muziek. 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. San Francisco Symphony, It was then that mecxnique was struck by the idea of a “simultaneous” lyrical form a typically futurist expression of the moving image, dominated by extracts and close-ups.

Clips taken from original discs may contain strong language. 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.