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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Lyon Opera Ballet / Trois Grandes Fugues

Joyce Theater / New York / Stage

Composed in 1825, Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue (Great Fugue) for string quartet did not go over well when it was first performed in 1826. Insults flew. A year later, in 1827, Beethoven died. Opinion flipped to the positive in the 20th century. Igor Stravinsky, for instance, called this difficult double fugue “an absolutely contemporary piece of music that will be contemporary forever.” Sylvia Plath, in a poem of 1965, referred to it as a “yew hedge,” which suggests something dark, thick, and brambled. In this year celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday, here’s a program in which three different dances use the same music—the Grosse Fugue. All three are choreographed by women—Maguy Marin, Lucinda Childs, and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker (who just choreographed West Side Story on Broadway). A fascinating exercise, the event is part of Carnegie Hall’s Beethoven Celebration. —L.J.

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Joyce Theater 175 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011, USA
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