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PRESENTS

Michael M. Kaiser President Darrell M. Ayers Vice President, Education

The choreographers take a cue from Bach and sneak humor into GOLD. Watch for these funny moments.

FULL OF SURPRISES A SNEAKY SENSE OF HUMOR Bach came from a family of musicians, and sometimes they would joke around by mixing serious songs with words from popular songs for a laugh. Bach even mixed a bit of humor into The Goldberg Variations, borrowing from a popular German song people would have recognized at the time. The song included the following lyrics: “Cabbage and turnips have driven me away, Had my mother cooked meat, I'd have opted to stay.” Can you relate to being sick of food your parent cooks? We’re not that different than people in 1741 after all!

NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON’T Hélène Blackburn and Pierre Lecours add surprises into their choreography, too. Watch carefully, because not everything is as it seems. Be on the lookout for: the way people seem to appear and disappear behind the moving panels on stage, like a game of hide and seek. the use of lighting to create different sized spaces for the dancers to move in and out of. One minute the dancers are there, and the next they’re gone. the way the music is altered. Some sections are repeated over and over, and some are interrupted by or mixed with the sound of a phone ringing when you least expect it. dancers reacting to video on screen. the interesting use of chairs and…bugs!

Additional support for Performances for Young Audiences is provided by Adobe Foundation, The Clark Charitable Foundation; Mr. James V. Kimsey; The Macy's Foundation; The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; Park Foundation, Inc.; Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; an endowment from the Ryna and Melvin Cohen Family Foundation; U.S. Department of Education; Washington Gas; and by generous contributors to the Abe Fortas Memorial Fund and by a major gift to the fund from the late Carolyn E. Agger, widow of Abe Fortas. Major support for educational programs at the Kennedy Center is provided by David and Alice Rubenstein through the Rubenstein Arts Access Program. Education and related artistic programs are made possible through the generosity of the National Committee for the Performing Arts and the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts.

www.kennedy-center.org/artsedge

Cuesheets are produced by ARTSEDGE, an education program of the Kennedy Center. Learn more about education at the Kennedy Center at www.kennedy-center.org/education The contents of this Cuesheet have been developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education. You should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. © 2013 The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Choreography by Hélène Blackburn and Pierre Lecours With Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations Recorded by Glenn Gould

Cuesheet

David M. Rubenstein Chairman

PERFORMANCE GUIDE

CAS PUBLIC OF CANADA


A Theme and Its Variations THE GOLDBERG VARIATIONS

WHAT ARE VARIATIONS?

Have you ever heard of Johann Sebastian Bach? Or better yet, listened to his music? Considered one of the greatest classical composers of all time, Bach wrote elaborate pieces of music with innovative, complex instrumentation for orchestras as well as for single instruments. A trained and talented organist, Bach preferred music that would fill up a huge concert hall or church. One such piece was the Goldberg Variations written for the harpsichord.

Variations are a method of constructing a piece of music. A composer takes an initial idea or theme, and then changes it slightly to make a variation. A composer can make the theme faster or slower, change the instruments (or hands) playing the theme, or alter its rhythm to create a new variation.

Flash forward more than two centuries to 1955 when the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould released a recording of Bach’s famous Variations, but for the piano instead of the harpsichord. Long considered very difficult to play the piece on piano, few had tried. It’s not surprising that the recording made Gould famous. The Cas Public of Canada dancers perform to Gould’s influential recording.

Bach (1685–1750) wrote music during the Baroque period. The Goldberg Variations was composed in 1741.

In the recorded music for GOLD, you mostly hear Gould’s piano, but listen carefully for the tinny sound of the harpsichord.

Structure

Hélène Blackburn and Pierre Lecours worked together to create the movement for GOLD. Have you ever wondered how a choreographer comes up with ideas for a dance—especially for music lasting 44 minutes? Sometimes choreographers are inspired by what is happening in the music itself. Watch for the following ways the movement connects to the musical score:

Repetition

Rhythm Some variations of the music have a very strong pulse, or beat. Watch for the times the dancers stomp their feet, clap their hands, or bounce a ball on the floor to the beat of the music. The speed of the music, or its tempo, also influences how fast the dancers move.

Like composers, choreographers take a theme and vary it. Watch carefully for these dance variations:

There are times when dancers repeat movement, but with a slight change. At the beginning of GOLD, three dancers toss balls while sitting on a bench. Later, they do the same sequence while standing and moving around each other. Finally, there’s another variation when a fourth dancer is added to the bench to throw balls with the group.

Unison and Cannon The dancers often perform the same movement at the same time, or dancing in unison. Other times they move in cannon, or when one dancer starts a phrase before the other does (like singing “Row, row, row your boat” in a round). These elements are present in the music, too. Listen carefully and you’ll hear them.

Method In order to play Bach’s music on the piano, Gould needed to cross one hand over the other, sometimes very quickly, in order to reach the right notes. Other times the theme played by the right hand “passes” to the left. This also happens in the movement, specifically when the dancers bounce the balls. Watch how they cross their hands, pass the ball from one hand to the other, and pass the ball to each other.

This solo dancer is joined by others who perform the same movements with her. Watch if they perform in unison or in cannon.

GOLD photos by Damian Siqueiros

The five dancers in GOLD aren’t always on stage at the same time. Watch for solos, duets, and trios as pictured here.

When writing The Goldberg Variations, Bach composed no less than 30 variations to his original theme. They are sandwiched between an expressive melody called an aria (pronounced AH-ree-yah) played at the beginning and again at the end. In GOLD, the aria is heard at the very beginning of the work.

INSPIRED BY MUSIC TO MAKE MOVEMENT


A Theme and Its Variations THE GOLDBERG VARIATIONS

WHAT ARE VARIATIONS?

Have you ever heard of Johann Sebastian Bach? Or better yet, listened to his music? Considered one of the greatest classical composers of all time, Bach wrote elaborate pieces of music with innovative, complex instrumentation for orchestras as well as for single instruments. A trained and talented organist, Bach preferred music that would fill up a huge concert hall or church. One such piece was the Goldberg Variations written for the harpsichord.

Variations are a method of constructing a piece of music. A composer takes an initial idea or theme, and then changes it slightly to make a variation. A composer can make the theme faster or slower, change the instruments (or hands) playing the theme, or alter its rhythm to create a new variation.

Flash forward more than two centuries to 1955 when the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould released a recording of Bach’s famous Variations, but for the piano instead of the harpsichord. Long considered very difficult to play the piece on piano, few had tried. It’s not surprising that the recording made Gould famous. The Cas Public of Canada dancers perform to Gould’s influential recording.

Bach (1685–1750) wrote music during the Baroque period. The Goldberg Variations was composed in 1741.

In the recorded music for GOLD, you mostly hear Gould’s piano, but listen carefully for the tinny sound of the harpsichord.

Structure

Hélène Blackburn and Pierre Lecours worked together to create the movement for GOLD. Have you ever wondered how a choreographer comes up with ideas for a dance—especially for music lasting 44 minutes? Sometimes choreographers are inspired by what is happening in the music itself. Watch for the following ways the movement connects to the musical score:

Repetition

Rhythm Some variations of the music have a very strong pulse, or beat. Watch for the times the dancers stomp their feet, clap their hands, or bounce a ball on the floor to the beat of the music. The speed of the music, or its tempo, also influences how fast the dancers move.

Like composers, choreographers take a theme and vary it. Watch carefully for these dance variations:

There are times when dancers repeat movement, but with a slight change. At the beginning of GOLD, three dancers toss balls while sitting on a bench. Later, they do the same sequence while standing and moving around each other. Finally, there’s another variation when a fourth dancer is added to the bench to throw balls with the group.

Unison and Cannon The dancers often perform the same movement at the same time, or dancing in unison. Other times they move in cannon, or when one dancer starts a phrase before the other does (like singing “Row, row, row your boat” in a round). These elements are present in the music, too. Listen carefully and you’ll hear them.

Method In order to play Bach’s music on the piano, Gould needed to cross one hand over the other, sometimes very quickly, in order to reach the right notes. Other times the theme played by the right hand “passes” to the left. This also happens in the movement, specifically when the dancers bounce the balls. Watch how they cross their hands, pass the ball from one hand to the other, and pass the ball to each other.

This solo dancer is joined by others who perform the same movements with her. Watch if they perform in unison or in cannon.

GOLD photos by Damian Siqueiros

The five dancers in GOLD aren’t always on stage at the same time. Watch for solos, duets, and trios as pictured here.

When writing The Goldberg Variations, Bach composed no less than 30 variations to his original theme. They are sandwiched between an expressive melody called an aria (pronounced AH-ree-yah) played at the beginning and again at the end. In GOLD, the aria is heard at the very beginning of the work.

INSPIRED BY MUSIC TO MAKE MOVEMENT


PRESENTS

Michael M. Kaiser President Darrell M. Ayers Vice President, Education

The choreographers take a cue from Bach and sneak humor into GOLD. Watch for these funny moments.

FULL OF SURPRISES A SNEAKY SENSE OF HUMOR Bach came from a family of musicians, and sometimes they would joke around by mixing serious songs with words from popular songs for a laugh. Bach even mixed a bit of humor into The Goldberg Variations, borrowing from a popular German song people would have recognized at the time. The song included the following lyrics: “Cabbage and turnips have driven me away, Had my mother cooked meat, I'd have opted to stay.” Can you relate to being sick of food your parent cooks? We’re not that different than people in 1741 after all!

NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON’T Hélène Blackburn and Pierre Lecours add surprises into their choreography, too. Watch carefully, because not everything is as it seems. Be on the lookout for: the way people seem to appear and disappear behind the moving panels on stage, like a game of hide and seek. the use of lighting to create different sized spaces for the dancers to move in and out of. One minute the dancers are there, and the next they’re gone. the way the music is altered. Some sections are repeated over and over, and some are interrupted by or mixed with the sound of a phone ringing when you least expect it. dancers reacting to video on screen. the interesting use of chairs and…bugs!

Additional support for Performances for Young Audiences is provided by Adobe Foundation, The Clark Charitable Foundation; Mr. James V. Kimsey; The Macy's Foundation; The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; Park Foundation, Inc.; Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; an endowment from the Ryna and Melvin Cohen Family Foundation; U.S. Department of Education; Washington Gas; and by generous contributors to the Abe Fortas Memorial Fund and by a major gift to the fund from the late Carolyn E. Agger, widow of Abe Fortas. Major support for educational programs at the Kennedy Center is provided by David and Alice Rubenstein through the Rubenstein Arts Access Program. Education and related artistic programs are made possible through the generosity of the National Committee for the Performing Arts and the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts.

www.kennedy-center.org/artsedge

Cuesheets are produced by ARTSEDGE, an education program of the Kennedy Center. Learn more about education at the Kennedy Center at www.kennedy-center.org/education The contents of this Cuesheet have been developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education. You should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. © 2013 The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Choreography by Hélène Blackburn and Pierre Lecours With Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations Recorded by Glenn Gould

Cuesheet

David M. Rubenstein Chairman

PERFORMANCE GUIDE

CAS PUBLIC OF CANADA

Cas Public of Canada: GOLD  

Performed against Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Canada’s Cas Public dance ensemble creates a frolicsome hide-and-seek celebra...

Cas Public of Canada: GOLD  

Performed against Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Canada’s Cas Public dance ensemble creates a frolicsome hide-and-seek celebra...