*THE COURT OF LOVE op.244 (March 1977)

A ballet choreographed by Lynn Seymour for the Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet to celebrate THE SILVER JUBILEE OF HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II
Published by: Highbridge Music Ltd
Commissioned by: The Royal Opera House forThe Royal Sadler's Wells Ballet
Instrumentation: 2222 4231 2 pc timp. pno/cel (opt) harp strings
[Key to Abbreviations]
Note on Lyrics: Scenario by Howard Blake and Lynn Seymour
Duration: 28 mins
First Performance: March 1st, 1977, Sadlers Wells, orchestra conducted by Barry Wordsworth with Susan Lucas as the Maiden and David Bintley as The Troubadour.

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Composer's note: Lynn was commissioned by the Royal Opera House to create a new one-act ballet for a gala performance to celebrate the Queen's silver jubilee in 1977 and she asked me if I would like to collaborate with her. I had just been reading a book on Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of Henry II, who had tired of being pushed around by him and set up her own rival court, its purpose being to teach men how to behave. This was her 'Court of Love' which I suggested to Lynn as a title. The setting of the ballet developed into an imagined dance at such a court of love. A consort of angels leads us to the ladies of the court- an enchantress, a maiden and a Queen. Vying for their favours are a bold Knight, a wistful Troubadour, three Knaves and a King. Mediaeval costumes and scenery were created by Dimitra Marasalis with lighting by David Hershey. I remember that at one point in the rehearsals Lynn invited her friends to a private preview in the rehearsal studio at The Royal Ballet School in Baron's Court. Sitting there were Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Robert Helpmann, Sir Kenneth Macmillan and Dame Ninette de Valois. Ashton asked Lynn what the costumes would be like and she said 'wouldn't it be wonderful to have everybody in the nude?'. Sir Freddie replied: 'the trouble with that dear Lynn is that when the music stops not everything else does!'

The Royal guest at the premiere on 26th April 1977 was Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, with whom I had dinner in the theatre restaurant whilst guests were introduced. She was most interested in both ballet and opera and as the evening progressed began to sing arias from Carmen to me in a most attractive mezzo-soprano voice.

The ballet was popular with audiences and toured with Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet for about 2 years. 

The following year I collaborated again with Lynn on 'Leda and the Swan' - a ballet for television on BBC's Omnibus arts programme. In 1979 she danced a pas de deux with Robert North in 'An Evening with Margot Fonteyn'. The music was the Andante from my Piano Quartet op.179 which Robert had previously used in 'Reflections' with ballet Rambert (1976).  




..a very decorative flow of dance, punctuated but scarcely interrupted by touches of fairly broad comedy. Howard Blake proves, not for the first time, that he can compose the sort of music which is easy on the ear and must be a joy to dance...

James Kennedy, the Times, 28/4/1977

Related Works

'*PIANO QUARTET' op.179 (January 1974) (Audio Sample Available)
Concert work in four movements
A ballet choreographed by Lynn Seymour
'BALLET SUITE: THE COURT OF LOVE' op.286 (November 1979)
An orchestral concert version of the music of the ballet 'The Court of Love' commissioned by The Royal Ballet Sadler's Wells
A dance created by Robert North to the Andante of the Piano Quartet

Related Autobiography Chapters

Dances for 2 pianos,Pink Panther,Toccata for the RPO,The Court of Love (1976)
The Duellists,Stronger than the sun,Leda and the Swan (1977)

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