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NYCB Vol. 4 No. 4 - Scotch Symphony

Balanchine's Scotch Symphony was not expected to last long in the repertory. The scenery and music create an ambiance that is nearly recognizable but follows no discernible storyline. A French critic used the words "dreadful," "deplorable," and "insipid" to describe the ballet. So it might have surprised them to see it being performed 70 years later!


Nancy Reynolds explained: "It irritates many because it cannot be too closely questioned: it is a ballet that hints at much but explains nothing." —Repertory in Review (affiliate link)


I think the ambiguity that annoys many, is exactly what intrigues others!


"It is the quality of mystery that appeals, or, for that matter, tantalizes. Who is this young laird roaming through an impossibly romantic gloaming, or who is this sylph, protected it seems by an entire regiment of Her Majesty's Highlanders, who so mysteriously seduces him? The answers are quite unimportant—only the questions matter."— Clive Barnes, New York Times, 1968.




1-3. Jacques d'Amboise & Suzanne Farrell. Martha Swope.

New York Public Library


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