Red Ear of Corn
Red Ear of Corn. Ballet in two acts by Boris Volkoff. The music, composed in 1949 by John Weinzweig, was commissioned by the Volkoff Canadian Ballet; it is scored for medium-sized orchestra. The ballet was premiered as part of the second Canadian Ballet Festival 2 Mar 1949 at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto. Samuel Hersenhoren conducted the orchestra.
The title refers to red ears of corn occasionally found by huskers in early Quebec. A red ear's finder was rewarded with the bride of his choice. In composing the music Weinzweig drew on elements of Native and French-Canadian dance-song while maintaining his own sparse, incisive style.
Scenes from the ballet were filmed in 1950 by the NFB, and the 'Barn Dance' was repeated that year by the Volkoff company at the third Canadian Ballet Festival. The original choreography for the ballet was reconstructed in 1986 under the direction of David Adams. The three-movement suite extracted from the score and premiered in 1951 was performed by the CBC Symphony Orchestra in 1956 and 1959, the NACO in 1969 and 1983, the CBC Winnipeg Orchestra in 1971, the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra in 1972, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in 1975, the TS in 1977 and 1982, the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra in 1986, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra in 1987, and the Hamilton Philharmonic in 1989, among others. The 'Barn Dance' has been played alone many times, for example by the TS on its 1987 Arctic tour, and it was also used, together with music by André Prévost, Harry Freedman, and Lothar Klein, in the ballet Newcomers, choreographed in 1980 by Brian Macdonald for the National Ballet of Canada. For recordings of the suite see Weinzweig Compositions.