Merce Cunningham Trust

Septet 1953


PREMIERE DATE August 22, 1953
PREMIERE VENUE Black Mountain College
LOCATION Black Mountain, NC
MUSIC Erik Satie Trois morceaux en forme de poire (1903)
COSTUMES Remy Charlip
DURATION 16 minutes
ORGINAL CAST Carolyn Brown, Remy Charlip, Merce Cunningham, Anita Dencks, Viola Farber, Jo Anne Melsher, Paul Taylor
The title refers to Eric Satie’s seven part score entitled "Trois morceaux en forme de poire." Influenced by the intersection of joy and sorrow, Cunningham focused on the overriding theme of Eros. The piece was choreographed for six dancers, with each of the seven movements ranging from grave to playful, as in the somber lyrical duet with Cunningham and Carolyn Brown, to the comical “solo of a desperate clown”. The ballet was later described by Cage as, “an experience that one is unable to resolve, leaving one, as a dream often does, uncertain of its meaning.” Cunningham chose no scenery, and simple costuming, with each of the three couples dressed in basic, unadorned fitted tops and pants.