Jane Eyre

Duration: 95’
Ballet in 2 Acts for chamber orchestra, commissioned by Northern Ballet.
Music arranged and composed by Philip Feeney, with musical excerpts from Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn and Franz Schubert.
Choreographed by Cathy Marston
Set and Costume Designer: Patrick Kinmouth
Lighting Design: Alistair West
First performed at Cast, Doncaster, on May 19th 2016, performed by members of the Northern Ballet Orchestra, conducted by John Pryce-Jones.

Having previously worked with choreographer Cathy Marston on her score for her production of Swan Maidens for Ballett des Theater Koblenz in the spring of 2015, which successfully combined the music of Jean Sibelius with that of Hafli∂i Hallgrimsson into a fully integrated score, Philip Feeney was delighted to be asked to do something similar for Marston’s newly-commissioned Jane Eyre for Northern Ballet. The commission was for a mid-scale ‘one-act chamber’ ballet, but it soon became clear that the scope of Charlotte Brontë’s novel, and Patrick Kinmouth’s adaptation and scenario, the ballet would need to be a full-length creation.

Marston was keen to have music that was of the period of the novel, but felt that the emotional psychological journey of her protagonist would need something more contemporary. Feeney’s ingenious solution was to set the classical excerpts within an overall ‘Jane Eyre world’, so that their start and finish would always be organic and natural, and Feeney’s own music would not stand out as anachronistic. The overall effect is that classical and contemporary are entirely integrated, creating a satisfying sense of a through-composed work, a ‘good listen’ if you like, that completely follows the storyline, as well as sympathetically supporting Marston’s distinctive, and distinguished, choreography.

In the spring of 2018, the music for Jane Eyre was expanded from a chamber ballet into a full orchestral score suitable for the main houses. It enjoyed a vibrant tour of the UK, and in the spring 2019 it will receive its first performance in the USA at the Met in New York, performed by the American Ballet Theatre.

In the score, the musical extracts are taken from:

Fanny Mendelssohn

Piano works:
Das Jähr, nos. 5, 6,7,9,and 13.
Six melodies pour le piano, op.4 & 5 no.6
Piano Sonata in G minor
6 Character Pieces for Piano

Chamber Music:
Quartet in E flat, II - Scherzo.
Fantasia in G minor for cello and piano

Felix Mendelssohn:

String Quartet in F minor, op. 80, fourth movement.

Franz Schubert:

Quartet no. 14 in D minor
Auf dem Wasser zu Singen.
Sonata in B flat, D 960, II - Andante Sostenuto.