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  1. #1

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    The influence of classical music on figure skating

    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 by Maofan7; 01-04-2013 at 05:45 AM.

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    Sasha Cohen Moonlight Sonata Show program


    Rachmaninov Elegie Morceaux De Fantasie Original <---not the best interpretation IMO, this guy seems to be playing under the influence of Valium. Where's the Rachmaninov drama ?

    Patrick Chan Elegie Exhibition


    Saint Saens The Swan Original

    Johnny Weir 2006 Swan SP
    Last edited by IceAlisa; 01-04-2013 at 06:50 PM.
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    Last edited by lulu; 01-04-2013 at 06:26 AM.

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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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    Quote Originally Posted by Maofan7 View Post
    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

    ...

    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
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemgirl View Post
    Bach
    I'm pretty sure that there are a number of other skaters who skated to Toccata and Fugue, including Tomas Verner.
    Krisztina Czako 1995

    Navka/Morozov 1998

    Aleksei Urmanov 1999

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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.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    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.
    Beautiful program

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    Han Yan 2012/2013 LP http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsWIJFsggds


    Aram Khachaturian - Masquerade: Waltz

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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 by Vash01; 01-04-2013 at 10:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lala View Post
    Han Yan 2012/2013 LP http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsWIJFsggds


    Aram Khachaturian - Masquerade: Waltz
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemgirl View Post
    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.
    Clair de Lune :
    Joshua Farris
    Lu Chen

    Another Debussy !
    Reverie x1000

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    Definitely a controversial list, IMO. No Chopin? No Rachmaninoff? No Tchaikovsky? (that's sacrilege, IMO)
    Excuse me, I listed Rachmaninov's Elegie.

    As for Chopin, this FD by Carron/Jost is a gorgeous interpretation of the nocturne. The lift at 1:05 takes my breath away.

    Here's Swan Lake for you. Ashley Wanger 2012 Nats Free.

    Also, Saint Saens Samson and Delilah, Ashley Wagner Free skate TEB 2012
    Last edited by IceAlisa; 01-04-2013 at 09:49 PM.
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    Brahms and Mozart are both is ranked behind Beethoven and Brahms is only in 7th?? Really?

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    Excuse me, I listed Rachmaninov's Elegie.

    As for Chopin, this FD by Carron/Jost is a gorgeous interpretation of the nocturne. The lift at 1:05 takes my breath away.

    Here's Swan Lake for you. Ashley Wanger 2012 Nats Free.

    Also, Saint Saens Samson and Delilah, Ashley Wagner Free skate TEB 2012
    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.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by lulu View Post
    This was the first one which came into my mind as having to be added. Ice dance in the early 90-ies!

    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!

    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

    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)

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