Episode 16, 2020: Antheil’s Ballet Mécanique
Wednesday 18 November 2020
For ANAM Radio’s final 2020 episode, Phil Lambert (ANAM Music Librarian) and Peter Neville (ANAM Head of Percussion) talk about one of the 20th Century’s unique, bizarre and outrageous compositions, George Antheil’s Ballet Mécanique.
Born in New Jersey, Antheil found himself in Paris in the 1920s along with other great American modernists of the time. In 1922, Antheil met Russian composer Igor Stravinsky who then had an idea of writing a piece for the pianola. The following year, Antheil came up with his own composition for 16 pianolas and percussion. Ballet Mécanique was premiered at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in 1926 to a sold-out concert attended by James Joyce and TS Elliott, but his eclectic musical experiments proved to be harder to pull off during his time resulting to a riot performance. After not being able to keep up with the complexity of the composition, it was believed that Antheil never tried to make anything as ambitious again and became a more conventional composer.
Ballet Mécanique was conducted by Peter Neville and performed by ANAM musicians and guest artists in 2016.
READ MORE ABOUT GEORGE ANTHEIL AND BALLET MÉCHANIQUE HERE
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
WATCH THE PERFORMANCE
Due to technical difficulties, video component of the performance is disrupted at 7:23 mins. The video resumes at 8:30 mins. Audio is still available during disruption
ANTHEIL Ballet Mécanique
Peter Neville conductor
Alexander Waite (keyboard 2018)
Berta Brozgul (keyboard 2018)
Matthew Levy (percussion 2017)
James Townsend (percussion 2017)
Madi Chwasta (percussion 2017)
Zela Papageorgiou (percussion 2017)
Adam McMillan (keyboard 2017)
Hamish Upton (percussion 2016)
Andrew Leathwick (keyboard 2016)
Kaylie Melville (percussion 2015)
Joyce To percussion
Jonathan Griffiths percussion
Catch the previous episode, ANAM Radio: DVOŘÁK’S QUINTET IN A MAJOR