Serenade is named after its music -- Tschaikovsky's Serenade in C major for String Orchestra -- and the ballet tells the story musically and choreographically, without any extraneous narrative. The score includes four
danceable movements with different qualities suggestive of different emotions and human situations, the four movements are danced in the following order, without interruption: Piece in the Form of a Sonatine: Andante non troppo, Allegro; Waltz; Tema Russo: Andante, Allegro con spirito; Elegy. Serenade was Balanchine's first ballet choreographed in the United States.
Carmina Burana is based on 13th century poems and songs, Carl Orff's "secular cantata." The poems on which the music is based were composed by traveling minstrels who decide to abandon their sacred beliefs in favor of all the secular pleasures that life has to offer. The ballet, in five parts, is an abstract re-telling of their experiences. Company Member and Choreographer Matthew Neenan was commissioned to re-envision and recreate Carmina Burana. For the original score, Orff selected 25 songs and arranged them into three groups, creating an unforgettable musical experience. Neenan returned to this original version for his incarnation, which The Philadelphia Inquirer called "simply scintillating" at its World Premiere in March 2007.
Visit the Pennsylvania Ballet: Carmina Burana/Serenade website: