Monday, March 21, 2011

The most wonderful thing debuts

The long-waited score that the Pet Shop Boys have been writing for a ballet premiered last week at Sadler’s Wells in London. The contemporary, full-length narrative dance -- choreographed by “scandalous” Javier de Frutos -- is the adaptation of a fable by Hans Christian Andersen, about the construction (and eventual destruction) of “the most wonderful thing.”

When choosing a fable to adapt, I’m sure it didn’t go unnoticed the marketing angle of “The Pet Shop Boys Release The Most Incredible Thing.”
“In the past we have written dance music, so to write music for a ballet seems like a logical development. Also we have always been fascinated by giving our music a theatrical context,” said former pupil of Newcastle’s St Cuthbert’s High School, Neil Tennant. "When you have a long career like ours, you have to keep things fresh. You have to be excited and smiling and scared shitless about something."
The Pet Shop Boys will also release the score as an album tomorrow, and despite being mostly instrumental, Neil’s vocals percolate, like in Battleship Potemkin.
Neil and Chris wrote all the music, and are billed as Tennat/Lowe – and not as Pet Shop Boys. They’re branching out.
Of course, there’s still quite a bit of PSB-like theatrical drama in the show. The three-act ballet including their score is backed up by film projections and a 26-piece orchestra.

From what I’ve seen and heard of it, it looks and sounds pretty sharp, and the reviews haven’t been bad. Perhaps they’re better off writing scores instead of musicals.

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