Happy 85th birthday for George Antheil's ballet mécanique
The most eduring of Geroge Antheil's creations, Ballet mécanique, had its premiere in Paris 85 years ago today.
Considered vile and unlistenable by people who hears its Canregie Hall premiere a year later, this ballet for pianos and a variety of percussion instruments (not human dancers) is mainstream now. It was meant to accompany a Dadaist film, but the film was shorter than its accompaniment, so Antheil introduced his work as a standalone piece.
Here is a solid performance from 2009 of one of Antheil's many later revisions of the score, from the Moscow Conservatory, followed by the first segment of the composer's arrangement for piano roll (you would need four real hands to play all those notes), which is much, much less interesting, because all of the colour of the percussion instruments is gone: