Manoeuvres (2002)

Concerto for Orchestra
Duration 22’
First performed by the English Ballet Orchestra, with Kevin Darvas (piano), Hall for Cornwall, Truro, as part of English National Ballet’s Tour de Force, 2002.
Choreographed by Patrick Lewis
Designs by Anthony MacDonald

When asked by artistic director, Matz Skoog, to create a piece for English National Ballet's Tour de Force, Patrick Lewis elected to extend an original piece that he had made for Ballet Central in 2000. He chose a circus theme, which duly displayed the bravura and virtuosity of the all-male cast, perfectly complemented by Anthony MacDonald’s striking set suggesting an inverted circus tent.

The original intention was to split up the sections, so that the beginning and the end of the original piece would be the beginning and end of the new piece, with the extra music added to each section. But in the end we opted to retain the structure of the original piece as a movement in itself and simply add two extra movements, a slower movement with a powerful scherzo in the middle, and a finale that relentlessly pushes on towards an appropriately athletic and virtuosic end.

Just as with Danse Classique, the arrangement for full orchestra of a Ballet Central piece which originally was scored for live piano with pre-recorded track necessitated a prominent role for the piano. At the premiere, the pit piano had to replaced by a grand to provide the right balance. The premiere was also noteworthy for the other members of the creative team taking a bow without the choreographer; he had mistaken the route to the stage and ended up on the streets of Truro!