Last week I was talking to a puppeteer about doing music theatre, and I thought I’d make a short example of using the street organ to accompany stage action.
As you probably know, Stravinsky’s marvellous ballet Petrushka brings not only a puppet to life: the Shrovetide fair scene at the beginning uses real musicians to recreate accordions, a barrel organ and a music box.
I thought I’d sweep away the nostalgia and mechanise everything (apart from the video, of course, which is Bolshoi), using the long-lost score which was localised by Stravinsky for the first London performance using English folksongs ;):
More photos of street organists (and of hurdy-gurdy men: they’re distinct) over at Poemas del río Wang.
If you’re interested in organs and theatre, quite soon you will visit Mr Stravinsky & Co and their lenten feast. Some background:
The play Petrushka seems to derive from a native older Russian buffoon and minstrel tradition and the Western European puppet theater tradition with its roots in the Italian commedia dell’arte. Possible evidence of
- Donald for Dalai Lama, or Pope, or Caliph, or something
A Trump Taj Mahal Casino multitrack jukebox, to help make religion rather better than it has been, again.
- Paintings by Yefim Ladizhinsky of street organs accompanying shows
A guy winding a handle isn’t much to look at, so it was cool to find this site dedicated to Yefim Ladizhinsky (1911-82), whose work I really like, and who shows Odessa organ-grinders working with other performers. Re Spectacle (organist bottom left) he writes:
A street-organ is a musical chest the size of a small suitcase. In
Petrushka, accordeons and theatre lead inevitably to the best film ever:
The tranny plumping up his chest to make the wedding guests smile for the cameraman remind me that this show needs tits. My pink dress–made by Lou B–has suffered over the years. If I knew where she lived I’d try to get her to …