Horse ballet of the Spanish Riding School #
The Horse ballet was a very popular musical-dramatic form in the Baroque period. This was a kind of military or tournament ballet which developed as a special form of the court ballet. It came to Vienna by way of daynastic marriages of the Austrian rulers with the Gonzaga family and reached a climax in the Contesa dell'aria e dell'aqua by Johann Heinrich Schmelzer (ca 1620 - 1680 Prague). To give you an approximate idea of what the Horse ballet was like, a video shows a recent performance of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. The entrance of the horses is accompanied by trumpet calls, which are not related to normal Austrian military signals but rather show an affinity in their drawn-out structure to French Cavalry signals. The modern-day approach to this form of ballet is to sell it as a typically Austrian tourist attraction. (E. Stadler)
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