Shadow of the Wind (1948)


Shadow of the Wind

Nana Gollner - 1948, Photo by Carl van Vechten
Photo Courtesy of Judith Chasin-Bennahum


Shadow of the Wind is based on Gustav Mahler’s score for Das Lied von der Erde (Song of the Earth), a symphony for contralto and tenor. Mahler chose six poems based on ancient Chinese texts that interpret various theories of human existence. Tudor explained that “his ballet symbolizes the impermanence of existence, the Chinese philosophy of accepting the mutations of life land bowing before them. Like the seasons, human experience is cyclical and has no sudden beginning or end.” (Balanchine & Mason).

Mahler’s six poems are titled in English:

I. The Drinking Song of Earth’s Sorrow (for Tudor’s “Six Idlers of the Bamboo Valley”);
II. Autumn Loneliness (for Tudor’s “The Abandoned Wife”);
III. Youth (for Tudor’s My Lord Summons Me”);
IV. Beauty (for Tudor’s “The Lotus Gatherers’’);
V. …Wine in Spring (for Tudor’s “Conversation with Winepot and Bird”);
VI. The Farewell (for Tudor’s “Poem of the Guitar”).

Shadow of the Wind was Tudor’s first ballet with an Eastern theme since Atalanta of the East, his light foray into Orientalia, in 1933.

Antony Tudor
Music / Composer
Gustav Mahler
Das Lied von der Erde
First Peformance
New York
Metropolitan Opera House
April 14, 1948
Ballet Theatre
Jo Mielziner, designed by Hugh Laing
Jo Mielziner
Cast - First Performance
Igor Youskevitch, Hugh Laing, Dimitri Romanoff, Alicia Alonso, John Kriza, Mary Burr, Ruth Ann Koesun, Crandall Diehl, Diana Adams, Zachary Solov, Dimitri Romanoff, Barbara Fallis, Muriel Bentley, Nana Gollner
1976 by Murial Topaz
Number of Dancers
Average Length
Costumes / Scenery
Licensing Information

Ballet Synopsis excerpted with permission from
The Ballets of Antony Tudor by Judith Chazin-Bennahum.



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