Aaron Copland, Rodeo
The Ballets Russes was founded in Paris a year before the Russian Revolution in 1917, and it became a home for Russian dancers and choreographers who could never go home, or who somehow escaped communism. It is considered the most influential ballet company of all time. It included dancers such as Balanchine and Nijinsky, and it commissioned works by major composers, such as Stravinsky. The Ballets Russes is part of the Russian artistic diaspora that, after the 1917 revolution, invigorated the world.
In 1937, the company split in two. One, The Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, was founded by Léonide Massine and René Blum. Blum was one of the first Jews arrested in Paris after it fell to the Nazis, and he was murdered at Auschwitz. The company fled to America, and in 1942 Agnes de Mille (the niece of film-director Cecil B. de Mille) commissioned Copland, on behalf of the company, to write an American ballet for it. It premiered to great success. Copland went on to arrange his music as a symphony, in which form it achieved even greater fame.
It is this final symphonic form that I listened to. Copland's friend, Leonard Bernstein, conducts the New York Philharmonic (from the album Bernstein Century: Copland):
The third movement, or "Saturday Night Waltz," is one of the most beautiful pieces of music that I know.
I created "Three Nights Now," the image above, in 2006. It is based on Mandelbrot fractals. The title is from Tu Fu's poem "Seeing Li Bai in a Dream II:
This cloud, that has drifted all day through the sky,
May, like a wanderer, never come back. . . .
Three nights now I have dreamed of you.