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65. Parade


The Three Muses by Eustache Le Sueur


It was 1917, a year before the great flu pandemic, the end of World War I, and the death of Claude Debussy. Eric Satie, Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso and Leonide Massine joined forces to create and stage a ballet called Parade. Satie composed the music, Picasso designed the costumes and set, Cocteau created the scenario, Massine did the choreography for Diaghilev's Ballet Russe, and Ernest Ansermet conducted the orchestra. Giants, all of them, participating in a momentous collaboration during tumultuous and turbulent times.


I connected this with my Islands in the Stream concert on December 2nd because of the parade of references I made to the other arts in connection with the pieces I was performing. There were musical references to Bill Evans, Michel Legrand, Phil Woods, Claude Debussy, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Frederic Chopin, Franz Liszt, Samuel Barber and Darius Milhaud. But there were also literary references to Thomas Hardy, Edna St. Vincent Millay and William Shakespeare. And a final reference to the great dancer Gene Kelly.


Music is my central focus, but I love exploring other forms of art including poetry, literature, drama, painting, and dance. And when two or more of these art forms can be combined as they were in Parade, so much the better. This sometime puts me at risk of spreading myself too thin, but I am simply unable to turn my back on the creative possibilities inherent in music's sister arts.


I have chosen a niche which is wider than most specialties allow. (I used to call it my self-designed major.) And I cannot help but realize that since the artistic universe covers an infinite expanse, I will never be able to digest and appreciate more than a small portion of it. Nevertheless, the part I occupy is a constant source of life, love, beauty, and inspiration which feels like home to me.


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