PRS: Bernstein's Ballet Scores
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire - Workshop 2
200 Jennens Road, B4 7XR
Free - booking required
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Public Research Seminar: Bernstein's Ballet Scores from Sketch to Stage
Dr Sophie Redfern (KCL)
"It's a battle, but everything’s a battle that ever turns out to be good," wrote Leonard Bernstein as he raced to complete his score for the ballet Fancy Free in 1944. It was his first professional stage commission and as he crammed composing in around a packed conducting schedule he found himself balancing deadlines and demands.
Drawing on surviving musical manuscripts and other archival sources, this talk considers Bernstein’s compositional approach and the creation of Fancy Free and its follow-up, Facsimile (1946).
The impact of collaboration and Bernstein’s ability to repurpose existing music both emerge as key factors shaping the final score and reveal the practical realities of working with others and composing for the stage.
Sophie Redfern is Lecturer in Music at King’s College London. Her first monograph, Bernstein and Robbins: The Early Ballets (University of Rochester Press, 2021), was named a 2022 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title and was published in paperback in December 2023.
Running time approx. two hours and 30 minutes