The influence of classical music on figure skating

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Maofan7, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Well-Known Member

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    When assessing the impact of classical music on figure skating, I recall a couple of years ago that Anthony Tommasini, the classical music critic of the New York Times, produced a list of the 10 greatest classical music composers in history. It was a controversial list, but it provides a useful starting point by virtue of the fact that figure skating programs have been developed and choreographed around many of the great works of all of the great composers on the list, which only goes to highlight the enormous influence that classical music has had on it

    Here are some links to the great works and the figure skating programs which they have inspired:-

    1. Johann Sebastian Bach

    Toccata and Fugue in D minor

    Air from Suite No. 3

    Original Music - Toccata, Original Music - Air

    Marina Klimova & Sergei Ponomarenko - 1991/92 Free Dance (1992 Olympics)


    2. Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony No. 5

    Original Music

    Evgeni Plushenko - 2004 World Championships - Exhibition

    Symphony No. 9

    Original Music

    Brian Joubert - 2010/11 Free Program (2011 World Championships)

    Moonlight Sonata (Piano Sonata No. 14)

    Original Music

    Ekaterina Gordeeva & Sergei Grinkov - 1993/94 Free Program (1994 Olympics)

    3. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    The Marriage of Figaro

    Original Opera

    Ekaterina Gordeeva & Sergei Grinkov - 1987/88 Free Program (1988 Olympics)

    Fantasia No. 3

    Original Music

    Maya Usova & Alexander Zhulin - Challenge of champions 1995

    4. Franz Schubert

    Ave Maria

    Original Music

    Caroline Zhang - 2007/08 & 2008/09 Free Program (2009 U.S. Nationals)

    Serenade

    Original Music

    Irina Slutskaya - 2001/02 Short Program (2002 Olympics)

    5. Claude Debussy

    Clair de lune

    Original Music

    Mao Asada 2008/09 Short Program (2009 World Team Trophy)

    6. Igor Stravinsky

    The Firebird

    Original Music

    Tatsuki Machida - 2012/13 Free Program (2012 Cup of China)

    7. Johannes Brahms

    Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77

    Original Music

    Kevin Reynolds - 2007/08 Free Program (2008 Canadian Nationals)

    8. Giuseppe Verdi

    La Traviata

    Original Opera

    Irina Slutskaya - 2002/03 Free Program (2003 European Championships)

    Stéphane Lambiel - 2009/10 Free Program (2010 European Championships)

    9. Richard Wagner

    Tristan und Isolde

    Original Opera - (Aria: Liebestod)

    Jamie Salé & David Pelletier - 2000/01 Free Program (2001 World Championships)

    10. Béla Bartók

    The Miraculous Mandarin

    Original Music

    Michelle Kwan - 2000/01 Free Program (2001 GPF)

    So, what are your favourite classical music inspired figure skating programs (regardless of whether the piece of music was created by a composer on the list or not)? If you can, please provide YouTube links to them
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  2. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  3. lulu

    lulu New Member

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  4. falling_dance

    falling_dance Well-Known Member

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  5. os168

    os168 Active Member

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    What a crazy list, no Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninov? Bartok?! Verdi? While I agree with Bach should listed as 1st... it is a travesty these 2 greats weren't even featured in the top 10 consider their influential work that made European classics such a universal world wide phenomenon instead of confined to the elitist circles. And I smell politics from this list.

    Frankly, list like this just makes London so much more cooler than New York. At least we have Classic FM voted by the people as well the critics. (Yes there are biases, but then at least we acknowledge this.)

    http://www.classicfm.com/hall-of-fame/

    Late Romantics generally have better dramatics and theatrics for performance arts in bridging the contemporary with the old, so no wonder Saint-Saëns is so well liked in figure skating. It is impossible not to mention him without Yuna kim's Danse Macabre. Where the rarity of musicality is matched by athleticism virtuosity in equal measures. Where choreography postures and freeze in motion were matched by heart stopping expressions and music realisation. As the violins strings heightens the emotion, the skater continues to bewitching the audience with heart stirring virtuosity beyond which the music notes dictate. It is style matched by substance, a rhythmic fantasy fully realized to one of the most hauntingly lyrical gothic romantic fantasy work; consist of speed, refinement, intensified lyricism that ups the ante at every phrase and pause. A coolness, freedom in the face of jeopardy, spectacular and supernatural personified, display of athleticism for ladies figure skating that is thoroughly modern and unbashingly superb.

    If skeletons could blush, you'd see a long row of them at the front row doing the celebration macabre dance right along with the skater as she take the final bows.

    OTOH, I am surprised there isn't a figure skating music database like IMDB, that lists all the skaters and their choice of music. Including characteristic of the music. Maybe with a poll to vote for how successful the realisation of the music is by the skater.
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  6. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    Well, this is a bit more challenging than the soundtrack thread, since each of these composers left behind a large body of work. A few more skaters and programs that were not mentioned:

    Bach
    I'm pretty sure that there are a number of other skaters who skated to Toccata and Fugue, including Tomas Verner.

    Beethoven
    Yannick Ponsero skated to some kind of modern version of Symphony no. 5 in a very ugly costume.

    Mozart
    Carolina Kostner skated to selections from Concerto no. 23 this past season.

    Schubert
    I can't even remember all the people who skated to Ave Maria.

    Debussy
    Janet Lynn and Carolina Kostner both skated memorable programs to Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.

    Kavaguti/Smirnov did a beautiful Clair de Lune.

    Stravinsky
    Everyone and their sister has skated to Firebird.

    Verdi
    Javier Fernandez has skated to Rigoletto and other Verdi compositions.

    Since I've already mentioned her, Kostner has also had some marvelous classical music programs, such as Pachelbel's Canon, Dumky Trio, and her Shostakovich SP last season. But otherwise, so many skaters have done really good programs to classical music that I don't even know where to start. Other than to say that this would not have been my top ten list ;)
  7. lala

    lala Well-Known Member

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  8. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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  9. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    I have never been a big fan of Shostakovich or Kostner but with her SP last season, Carolina had made me a huge fan of her skating and inspired me to put the music on my SD card. I am starting to get Shostakovich thanks to her artistry--she "explained" him to me.
  10. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    Beautiful program :swoon:
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  11. lala

    lala Well-Known Member

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  12. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    Definitely a controversial list, IMO. No Chopin? No Rachmaninoff? No Tchaikovsky? (that's sacrilege, IMO)

    I too like Shostakovich- Brian Orser's LP in 1988 worlds, in particular.

    Are they looking at only European composers? - but Chopin would be among them.

    I can't add links right now; got to go back to work, but here are a few of mine:

    For Ave Maria, I would definitely include T&M's SP in 2005, Annenko-Sretenski's pro and Oksana Baiul's exhibition. Also Krylova-Ovssianikov had a wonderful pro routine to this. Shishkova-Naumov skated a beautiful SP to Ave Maria around 1995 or 1996.

    Usova-Zhulin's skate to Mozart is one of my all time favorite program and music.

    For Brahms I would add Brasseur & Eisler's SP at the 1994 Olympics- one of the few times I enjoyed their skating as eligible skaters.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  13. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    My most favorite Masquerade waltz is by Krylova-Ovssianikov

    Kliimova-Ponomarenko's (pro) was pretty good too. I did not care for Mao Asada's use of this music; I prefer softer music for her.
  14. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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  15. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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  16. falling_dance

    falling_dance Well-Known Member

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  17. shine

    shine Well-Known Member

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    Brahms and Mozart are both is ranked behind Beethoven and Brahms is only in 7th?? Really?
  18. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    I have a tough time with Wagner and Bartok ranked ahead of so many well known composers.
  19. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    I was not referring to you. My comment was about the rankings posted in the original post.

    Rachmaninoff is not on that list.

    My favorite 'Elegy by Rach' skating performances are: 1) B&S at 1998 worlds ex, and 2)Katia at a pro competition after Sergei's passing.
  20. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

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    Remember watching this at the Olympics in '92 as if it had been yesterday! :swoon:

    This was the first one which came into my mind as having to be added. Ice dance in the early 90-ies! :swoon:

    Thank you all for posting great clips bringing up precious memories! :)

    Here are some additional programmes for already listed composers I particularly like:

    Ave Maria:
    Fumie Suguri: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fp5tI3NkqXM (WC 2002 SP)
    I loved this one and still recall that many ladies had great SPs that year! :cheer:

    Saint Saens, Samson and Delilah:
    Irina Slutskaya: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qql51Zj9e_E (2003 Hallmark)
    Elena Sokolova: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKmM7iGfMvw (WC 2003, SP)

    Rachmaninov:
    Sasha Abt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86g-lZbNauU (EC 2002, LP)
    Adding the mandatory Sasha wuzrobbed :wuzrobbed

    More Swan Lake:
    Oksana Bajul: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GDdHQmcK7g (OG 1994, SP)
    Ilia Klimkin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLVGHiXtwbQ (EC 2004, SP)
    Volosozhar / Trankov: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QG64wuOb_AE (WC 2012, LP)
  21. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    The influence of classical music on figure skating is like the lyrics from that song, 1985, by Bowling for Soup when it says "She's still preoccupied with 1985."

    Classical music was pop music when figure skating was born, and it is stuck in that style.
  22. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    I totally missed that NYT list. That is a strange and a totally arbitrary one as such lists tend to be.
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  23. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    I think this is largely true, and even moreso with early 20th century popular dance music and ice dance.

    But specifically, I think that legato classical music (and classical-style soundrack music) has always remained most common for skating because most good skating involves legato movement qualities -- with exceptions always welcome as contrast.
  24. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    Saint Saens, Samson & Delilah
    Bechke & Petrov- professional routine

    Saint Saens, The Swan
    Mishkutenok & Dmitriev- 1990 SP
  25. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    More Rachmaninoff (Links later):

    Alexander Abt - Euro's 2002? (Rach 2 & 3)

    Midori Ito - 92 Oly (Rach 1 & 3, I think)

    Klimova-Ponomarenko's pro routine to Tchaikovsky's 5th symphony is beautiful (I think it's been posted in another thread)
  26. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    . . . Unless it is Tone Loc's Wild Thing, which I never liked even when accompanied by amazing skating . . . ;)
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  27. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

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    Well, Jazz also came into existence before pop and didn’t change its style. I like that different music styles stay different and I think it’s great that skaters nowadays can choose between so many different music styles, still a lot of them love classics. And a lot of them skated adorable programmes to “modern classics”, this for example is one that comes immediately to my mind:

    Sasha Cohen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDWCrlkloPA (OG 2002, SP)

    The composer of that waltz, Evgenij Doga, was born in 1937 and I guess that piece of music was composed sometime in the 70-ies? (if anyone knows the exact date, please add)


    I posted the link already, but here it is again (one shouldn’t miss out this one :))
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86g-lZbNauU


    Found a link, here it is:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=polwvMNVgFU
    Minute 3.35 of that programme still makes me :wideeyes:
  28. Jun Y

    Jun Y Well-Known Member

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    There is a gap of 300 years between Bach and Stravinksy, but only about 50 years separating Stravinksy and John Cage or Philip Glass. How does one define "classical music"? And, if one is to include Stravinsky/Debussy and Bach/Mozart in the same category, what about Prokofiev and Ravel, who (along with Stravinsky) were contemporaries with Duke Ellington and in fact had some cross-influence between them (Jazz and "modern classical")?
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  29. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

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    Here is Shishkova/Naumovs programme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxVrFEGDasw (1996 cenntenial on ice)

    Defintion from wikipedia: "Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times.The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common practice period." - Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_music
  30. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Well-Known Member

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    Great example. Was called Hungarian Dance No. 5. Here is the performance:-

    Isabelle Brasseur & Lloyd Eisler - 1994 Olympics SP

    Christopher Bowman also skated to it:-

    1988 Olympics FS
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
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  31. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    Well, in theory, "Classical Music" should be defined as the music between the Baroque and Romanic period that began after JS Bach died to about the time Beethoven died, but I did not think that narrow definition fits the question since many skaters choose music from the Romantic period, like from Operas and Ballets.
  32. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    There are different periods to define Baroque, classical, romantic and modern music. I don't remember all the dividing lines, but I had learned it in my music listening class. Typically though we refer to most of this music as 'classical'. Actually Rachmaninoff is a modern composer (in the 20th century), but we call his music 'classical', although we go strictly by definition, it's not.
  33. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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  34. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    Re the definition of classical, I think in this case Wikipedia has a useful one:

    Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times.[1] The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common practice period.

    I assume this is correct?

    Don't worry, soon music with lyrics will be allowed even outside ice dance, and then you will have as many Adele and hip-hop programs as you could possibly want. Or, as is the case in ice dance, many tributes to medleys.

    I agree with gkelly that classical music is well-suited to the quality of skating movement. The sheer number of classical compositions and their suitability to skating ensures their popularity, rather than skating being stuck in the days of Jackson Haines (when Vivaldi and Bach were not pop music - and really, Speedy et al. aren't that old :p).

    Also, many skaters do not skate to classical music all that often,if at all - Takahashi mixes classical in occasionally but mostly does other things, Yuna Kim has done a few non-classical programs, and Akiko Suzuki and Kiira Korpi also have a mix of different types. Savchenko/Szolkowy don't seem to do classical at all and neither do Pechalat/Bourzat, Joubert's 9th symphony LP that was mentioned upthread is the only classical program I can recall him doing, and so on.
  35. lily

    lily Member

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  36. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    Wikipedia is a great quick reference, but this definition is something that could just as well be on Urban Dictionary. It is about as nuanced as defining pairs skating in such a way that it includes both pairs and ice dance.

    I'm actually quite surprised that it includes Medieval music. Generally, common practice, which I assume is with respects to tonality, began with the restriction of parallel perfects. Then again, this is why the definition is particularly bad, it speaks almost exclusively about time rather than the characteristics of the music. Furthermore, what defines the eras within the common practice period are the aesthetic goals of the artists.

    With respects to this thread, this definition does not work because it leaves out Puccini, Bizet, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff. How many threads have there been that plead for the banning of Tosca, Carmen, and Swan Lake and gush about the emotional depth of programs to Rachmaninoff No. 2 and 3.
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  37. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    It's not a full definition, it's the introductory portion of the article, and as such it's not meant to be an exhaustive discussion of the history of classical music and the various views on how to define it. The [1] reference is to the OED, by the way, not Urban Dictionary.

    I don't see how it leaves out any of the composers you mentioned, since it does say "up to present times", and none of them lived before the 11th century.

    This is the Merriam-Webster definition, which makes no reference to any time period:
    And here's a link to the actual definitions that are on Urban Dictionary.

    I'm too lazy to start combing music websites for definitions, but I assume that it's an easy term to define vaguely and a difficult one to define precisely. Kind of "I'll know it when I hear it" situation.
  38. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but in this case, however, you should have gone with the Urban Dictionary definition 1, which is more accurate than the definition from Wikipedia. :cold:

    . . . much to my surprise.

    Defining the term precisely is actually quite easy if you can describe music with respects to structure, form, etc. I've heard that even an American high school student from the 1950s that never played a musical instrument or participated in musical performance was expected to be able to do this as part of standard curriculum.

    Defining the term vaguely is actually quite difficult since that assumes you are communicating with somebody that does not understand structure, form, etc. Most people today would have to learn this as an elective in college, if they chose such an elective among many other options.
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  39. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    As I understand it, that would be considered a narrow definition that only looks at composers from the classical period - and a lot of people disagree with that as a definition of classical music. I'm not enough of an expert to have my own opinion, maybe because by the time I was in high school it was not part of the curriculum. :D
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  40. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    Same here, too young. Such a shame since we obviously have some kind of affinity to that subject :D

    If I had learned this in high school, I probably would not have been forced to take that 5th year of college, which is when I finally found the time to take business and econ courses :shuffle:
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013