Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Lore and the Dance

The NYT had major piece last Sunday on famed French ballet/dance star Sylvie Guillem coming to the city this week, and one of three pieces she will be doing is set to Beethoven's opus 111 piano sonata. Naturally, I have tix for tonight and heading out in a few minutes.  Somewhere she was quoted as saying that music has been all downhill since that, and she will get no argument from me. Anyway: Here is clip previewing the program, Sylvie dances the first and third pieces, with the LvB segment starting 1:25, as she dances Beethoven's so-called "invention of boogie woogie," a small but key part of the opus 111.


  1. While I appreciate the humor behind it, as a musician who is trained in both jazz and classical, I know it's really white European cultural triumphalism to actually think Beethoven invented boogie-woogie when he experimented with dotted rhythms in this sonata. Sorry. Boogie-woogie's origins are far more organic, and stem from blues music of black musicians, in particular ones in 19th century Texas, who likely never heard Beethoven's music save for maybe their white owners'/bosses' children learning Für Elise from a private instructor while they fixed meals or did handyman work around the house. But more to he point, musical analysis can easily show that boogie-woogie is harmonically, melodically and rhythmically the child of the blues, not Beethoven's op. 111. Thus boogie-woogie is, like so many musical styles of American origins, an invention that rightfully belongs to African Americans. Let's not steal that one from them too.

    - Cade DeBois

  2. Oh god chill out Cade. Like anyone thinks Beethoven actually invented jazz or whatever. His contribution to music as an art far exceed that of creating pedestrian genres of 20th century music.

  3. Boy, I thought Metternich was bad. Where's my comment from yesterday? Was it offensive?