As Principal Conductor, Paul Murphy gets involved fairly early on in the process of making a new ballet.
“Our work begins as soon as we receive the orchestral score from the composer”, he explains. “We then set about a detailed study of the material and consult with the composer over any possible discrepancies in the music.
“In general, a choreographer will not want the conductor around in the studio until they have finished making the ballet. When this has finished, it will be time to link the various sections together and try to achieve a musical as well as a choreographic flow. Normally we would join rehearsals at this stage.
“The process involves us observing initially and consulting the pianists before conducting the rehearsals. During rehearsals we will discuss matters of tempi and pace with the choreographer/Director and the dancers.”
David Bintley is known for his genuine love and knowledge of all sorts of different music, and according to Paul this becomes all the more important whilst new work is being made.
“The composer/choreographer/conductor relationship is critical to the success of a new ballet. As far as the conductor is concerned, we rely on the choreographer allowing the music to have equal importance to the dance; in other words, not overloading the choreography with difficult steps that make it impossible for us to realise the composer’s intentions.
“Here at Birmingham Royal Ballet, we are blessed with a musical choreographer in David. I have conducted many premieres of David’s ballets and have always felt that not only is the music given equal weight, but that I have a considerable degree of freedom in the overall pacing; rare indeed!”