Music: Bohuslav Martinu (Double Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano, and Tympani, H. 271, 1938)
Choreography: Paul Gibson
Costume Design: Mark Zappone
Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli
Duration: 22 minutes
Premiere: November 7, 2002; Pacific Northwest Ballet

Kaori Nakamura, Jeffrey Stanton, and PNB Company dancers
in Rush. Photo © Angela Sterling

Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu (1890–1959) wrote his Double Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano, and Tympani in troubled times, and the moods of anger and despair that pervade this piece reflect his concern for the future of his homeland. The work was finished on September 29, 1938, a day before Czechoslovakia was signed away to Nazi Germany as a result of the Munich Agreement.

Choreographer Paul Gibson knew nothing of the concerto’s historical significance when he first heard a recording recommended to him by PNB conductor Stewart Kershaw. Instead, he was swept away by the dark force and dense textures of the score, one that began almost immediately to inspire dance imagery.

Rush is Gibson’s second ballet for PNB and his most ambitious offering to date. A work in three movements, it requires an ensemble of nine couples: a pair of principal dancers, four demi-solists, and a corps de ballet of twelve. Plotless and free of any literal statements, this abstract neo-classical ballet explores a course that Martinu’s tense and turgid music has inspired.

Notes by Leland Windreich.

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