Chapter

Freedom in a Tunic Versus Frieze-Dried Classicism: Hellenism in Modernist Performance

W. Anthony Sheppard

in Revealing Masks

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780520223028
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520924741 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520223028.003.0005
Freedom in a Tunic Versus Frieze-Dried Classicism: Hellenism in Modernist Performance

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This chapter compares the Hellenism of Isadora Duncan with the Greek-style works of Igor Stravinsky and Carl Orff, focusing particularly on the issue of movement versus stasis. Numerous photographs of Duncan in Greek costume, dancing and posing among the ruins of Athens, testify to the exalted state—a new freedom of physical expression—that she experienced during her sojourns there. Her dances from this period, particularly her Bacchanale to the music of Christoph Willibald von Gluck, exhibit an intense delight in traversing space with relatively simple but forceful and athletic movements. Although it is now most often performed as a concert work, Orff's medievalist Carmina Burana was intended as a staged dramatic cantata that would include dance, sets, and costumes. Unlike Stravinsky, and closer to Duncan's interest in ancient Greek ritual performance, Orff was devoted to the total-theater ideal throughout his career.

Keywords: Hellenism; Isadora Duncan; dance; Igor Stravinsky; Carl Orff; theater; Carmina Burana; Greek ritual

Chapter.  9552 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Applied Music

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