The dance press have been full of praise for Dan Jones's original score for the new Liam Scarlett full-evening ballet, Hansel and Gretel. It was premiered by The Royal Ballet in the Linbury Studio Theatre at Covent Garden on 8 May this year.
This was Scarlett's first full-length narrative ballet for The Royal Ballet. Jones's newly-commissioned score was recorded by the composer with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia. Scarlett's reputation as one of the UK's leading young choreographic talents ensured that tickets were scarce for his dark reinterpretation of the Brothers Grimm tale (now set in 1950s America). Jones's score was widely praised and takes as its inspiration the music of Hitchcock's classic thrillers, by composers such as Bernard Herrman:
'Dan Jones’s commissioned score is magnificent, juxtaposing dramatic and dense piano chords with chiming percussion and tinkling xylophone melodies. The music is impelling, building tension and dissipating in complimentary ebb and flow to the choreography.'The Stage (Katie Columbus), 9 May 2013
'Dan Jones's soundtrack, brilliantly atmospheric, piles on the Hitchockian references: swelling Vertigo strings for Gretel's love for her father; the crunch of stilettos on gravel for the stepmother's approach; an ominous groaning as the focus descends (a real coup de théâtre) to the basement-prison, hidden beneath an innocent-seeming shed.'
The Independent on Sunday (Jenny Gilbert), 12 May 2013
'There is much to be impressed by in this production. Dan Jones's score is atmospheric but never intrusive, and Jon Bausor's detailed set is wonderfully suggestive of the arid lives and decayed hopes of its occupants.'The Observer (Luke Jennings), 12 May 2013
'There is a strong dramatic score from Dan Jones (played in a recording) and suitably unsavoury design from John Bausor.'Financial Times (Clement Crisp), 9 May 2013
'Dan Jones’s symphonically Herrmann-esque score does a decent job, too…'Daily Telegraph (Mark Monahan), 9 May 2013
'And Dan Jones’s original score, with its nods to Bernard Herrmann, is so enmeshed in the action, it plays like an additional character.'Metro (Keith Watson), 12 May 2013
'Against Dan Jones' soundtrack that subtly shifts mood from film noir eroticism to gurgling horror the dancers play out the tale…'Daily Express (Neil Norman), 10 May 2013
'… a damn good score by Dan Jones…'The Spectator (Giannandrea Poesio), 18 May 2013