Music: By Hershy Kay (adapted from traditional British sources as given below, 1976, commissioned by the New York City Ballet).
Choreography: By George Balanchine.
Production: Scenery and costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, including a drop curtain for Part II from the New York City Opera production of La Cenerentola (1953). Scottish costumes by Sheldon M. Kasman of Toronto. Lighting by Ronald Bates.
Premiere: May 13, 1976, New York City Ballet, New York State Theater.
Conductor: Robert Irving (Preview: Annual New York City Ballet Gala Benefit, May 12.)
Cast: I. SCOTTISH AND CANADIAN GUARDS REGIMENTS: ('Keel Row') LENNOX: Helgi Tomasson, 9 men; DRESS MACLEOD: Jacques d'Amboise, 9 men. ('Caledonian Hunt's Delight') GREEN MONTGOMERIE: Sara Leland, 9 women. ('Dance wi' My Daddy') MENZIES: Peter Martins, 9 men; DRESS MACDONALD: Kay Mazzo, 9 women. ('Regimental Drum Variations') MACDONALD OF SLEAT: Karin von Aroldingen, 9 women. (Scottish theme from the Water Music by George Frederick Handel) R.C.A.F. (ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE): Suzanne Farrell, 9 women. ('Amazing Grace,' 'A Hundred Pipers') FINALE: Entire cast. II. COSTERMONGER PAS DE DEUX (music-hall songs, ca. 1890-1914: 'The Sunshine of Your Smile,' 'The Night the Floor Fell In,' 'Our Lodger's Such a Naice Young Man,' 'Following in Father's Footsteps,' 'A Tavern in the Town'): Pearly King, Jean-Pierre Bonnefous; Pearly Queen, Patricia McBride; 2 young girls, donkey. III. ROYAL NAVY (traditional hornpipe melodies, 'Rule Britannia'): von Aroldingen, Victor Castelli, Bart Cook; d'Amboise, 8 women, 8 men; Leland, Mazzo, Tomasson; Martins, 8 women, 8 men; WRENS (WOMEN'S ROYAL NAVAL SERVICE): Farrell, 8 women; FINALE: Entire cast.
Note: Created to honor the British heritage of the United States on the occasion of its Bicentennial. Part I is based on Scottish military tattoos and folk-dance forms performed in an open castle square. Part II is a music-hall pas de deux for the costermonger Pearly King and Queen of London, with two little girls and a donkey, danced before a drop suggesting Pollock's toy theaters. Part III is a series of variations employing hornpipes, sea songs, work chants, jigs, and drill orders of the Royal Navy, in a quay-side setting. For the finale, hand flags signal 'God Save the Queen' in a marine semaphore code as the British Union Jack appears. In 1960, Balanchine used the Scottish theme from the Water Music for the SCOTLAND variation in The Figure in the Carpet .
Video/DVD: 1996, Nonesuch, The Balanchine Library: The Balanchine Celebration, Part One (III. ROYAL NAVY, WRENS, FINALE ); 2004, Kultur, Balanchine (rehearsal with Balanchine).
Revisions: 1976, New York City Ballet: March sections shortened immediately after premiere; second half of GREEN MONTGOMERIE section completely rechoreographed; ending of COSTERMONGER scene redone several times.