Back by popular demand – sensual dance music |

Back by popular demand – sensual dance music

KIMBERLY NICOLETTIsummit daily news
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk The Breckenridge Music Institute Orchestra, a group of 45 professional musicians, returns to Breckenridge for its 24th season to perform major choral works, opera and movie classics.

BRECKENRIDGE – You might not think of the waltz as a revolutionary dance, but it was.The waltz was the first formal dance that allowed a man to clasp a woman’s hand. Before that, a woman could place her hand in a man’s hand, but the man couldn’t grasp back, according to Gerhardt Zimmermann, conductor of the Breckenridge Music Institute (BMI) Orchestra.Saturday, the BMI celebrates the evolution of sensual dance with its concert, tangos, waltzes and polkas at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge.

The first half of the concert features an encore rendition of “The Four Seasons” by Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla.”Last year, we performed ‘The Four Seasons,’ and the crowd went nuts,” Zimmermann said. “People were coming up saying, ‘You have to do it next year,’ so we’re doing it next year.”The composition’s use of chromatism and dissonance initially met with critics’ resistance and outright condemnation. Audiences resisted Piazzolla’s new sound, but by the late 1980s (a decade before his death), many classical performers began playing his work. As the modern ear has accommodated complicated jazz elements, “The Four Seasons” has come full circle, and now many admirers herald it as “the savior of the tango.”

“Piazzolla said the tango was the dance of the soul,” Zimmermann said. “It originated in bars and brothels. It was supposed to be the music of God and the music of the devil. It is sensuous, energetic, sultry.”His first tango in “Four Seasons” begins with the world coming alive in spring. The slow, melodic interludes alternate with lilting melodies, as if to suggest a flower about to bloom. The “Summer” tango begins slow and soft like a mid-day siesta, with a tango rhythm in the background. Both the “Autumn” and “Winter” movements represent periods of dance and rest with their rapid tango rhythms from the piano and longer melodic lines from the strings and orchestra.The second half of the program glides and hops with a sequence of waltzes and polkas reminiscent of old Vienna.

The syncopated rhythms and reflective interludes of Franz von Suppé’s “The Beautiful Galathea” opens the second half. The piece foretells the story of the operetta where the Greek god Pygmalion creates a statue that Venus brings to life.The program ends with the lyrical “Gold and Silver Waltzes,” composed in 1902 by Franz Lehár.”It’s the greatest waltz of all,” Zimmermann said. “I always dedicate it to my wife of 30 years.”

-Elmer Koneman provided some background information for this storyKimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at

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