BALLAD OF THE STRAY MOON
Ballad of the Stray Moon, a burlesque love play in three scenes (ballet)- opus 5, premiere: The National Theatre, 1960.
At not the age of thirty (1957), Dusan Radic (1929-2010) began working on his first ballet, burlesque love play in three scenes- Ballad of the Stray Moon. The very subtitle of the work indicates its distinct displacement from the classic ballet field and proves already gained positions of the author as the composer being prone to different aspects of subversions, firstly to incessant reconsideration of the high art canonic values. Certainly having been inspired by his Paris specialization experience at Darius Milhaud, the composer whose scenic experiments are the synonym for hedonistic Parisian twenties of 20th century, Radic proudly engaged into a similar genre combination in his ballet (ballet with a reciter) in one hand, as well as diverse crossings of popular music genres simulated elements (ranging from Serbian folk dance-kolo, over old-town music, called “inn” music by him, to jazz) with media and genre “infrastructure” of classic ballet, in the other hand. However the work in every respect, thankfully to the fact that it is based on the same called poem by Bora Cosic, testifies to the “opening” atmosphere, characteristic for Yugoslavia in late fifties, featured by the popular culture breakthrough, bringing along the life habits and values change, but also to the atmosphere that implied both individual engagements of artists and their interest in the questions of alienation and contemporary life problems, in general. Finding himself, as a freelance artist, in such a specific “market” surrounding, Radic composes the Ballad. Regarding that, the composer says: “When the adolescents’ excitements allayed, when wide opened eyes began to watch more sober, the world was changing into burlesque; I covered too serious things with imagination. The lesson drawn by experience was that the game should be continued in a much more relaxed manner and that misadventures were not to be taken literally. I turned to the theatre. I began writing ballet, then opera, all with the intention to, by easily acceptable music, offer only impetuses to the listeners, viewers, impetuses for independent life enigmas solving.” (Radic, the List of Compositions and Comments)
1. Scene: The Earth. The poet waits for his darling. Time passes. The poet persistently waits.
2. Scene: The Sky. The poet looks for his darling among the stars. Natives chase him away.
3. Scene: The Earth. The poet finds his darling. The encounter breaks all his “nice illusions” and after a usual sadness, he has nothing else but to begin with a new illusion.
Dr. Vesna Mikic, musicologist