Music: Ballet Hit

One morning last summer, George Balanchine, the New York City Ballet's brilliant choreographer, called up an arranger named Hershy Kay. Balanchine had just returned from Wyoming and was delighted by the lovely scenery, the pretty songs, the appealing cowboy costumes. Balanchine wanted Kay to write the music for a new western ballet. "Just write something." said Balanchine airily, "and we'll work from there."

Philadelphia-born Arranger Kay offered some samples. Balanchine decided the first one sounded too much like Aaron Copland

("If I'd wanted Copland, I would have asked him to write it"). The...

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