Garden of Earthly Delights, The

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Leroy Osmon

Leroy Osmon

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Subtitle: A Ballet in Three Acts

General Info

Year: 2006
Duration: c. 52:30
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: RBC Publications
Cost: Score and Parts - $200.00   |   Score Only - $40.00


1. Act I "The Garden of Eden" – 22:20

  • Scene I: The Creation of Adam and Eve
  • Scene II: The Black Serpent Curls
  • Scene III: The Predatory Beasts
  • Scene IV: Eden. On the Eve of Passing

2. Act II "The Garden of Earthly Delights - 12:55

  • Scene I. In the Days of Noah
  • Scene II. Young Maidens Embrace Lust and Eroticism
  • Scene III. Dance of the Lustful Inhabitants
  • Scene IV. The Violation of Innocence - 6:07

3. Act III "Hell" – 17:04

  • Scene I. Dance of the Perverted Love and Lust
  • Scene II. Eternal Dance of Death
  • Scene III. Dance of Vanita
  • Scene IV. The Dreamer of Hallucinating Nightmares


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Program Notes

The ballet The Garden of Earthly Delights was composed for the Banda Sintonica Del Gobierno Del Estado (Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico - Ruben Flores, conductor) and the Vera-Danza Company (Jorge Luis Ortiz, director). The first performance took place in the Sala Grande del Teatro del Estado (Xalapa, Veracruz) October 4, 2006. By request from the Governor of the State of Veracruz, Fidel Herrera Beltran, the work was also performed in the famous San Juan de Ulua, Puerto de Veracruz, on October 11,2006.

The ballet consists of an introduction, three acts (each having four scenes), and an interlude to Act III. The scenario is from the Hieronymus Bosch 1504 painting titled, “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” The. ballet is dedicated to Captain Cesar Amora Aguilar, conductor for the premiere performance.

The publication of this work was made possible, in part, by a grant from the American Music Center (New York). The Garden of Earthly Delights is the first ballet for full symphony band composed for an internationally-acclaimed dance company.

- Program Note by University of Houston Moores School of Music Wind Ensemble concert program, 13 July 2015

The ballet consists of an “Introduction,” three “Acts” (each having four “Scenes”) and an “Interlude” before “Act III.” The scenario is from the Hieronymus Bosch 1504 painting which came to be known as “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” The ballet is dedicated to Capt. Cesar Amora Aguilar (conductor for the world première performance in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico). The titles for each Act and Scene are taken directly from specific sections of the Bosch painting. The inspiration for the individual sections came from the painting as a whole as well as from the smallest of images within the painting. The various styles found within the music are directly related to the images on the canvas: from the harsh to the sublime; from the abstract to the realistic.

The music is a graphic representation of the Bosch painting and follows the same biblical narrative. Act I represents the “left” panel and depicts the presentation of Eve to Adam, the Serpent, various predatory beasts, and the passing of Eden. Act II presents Noah (represented by the continuous playing of a two-note motif), lust, eroticism and the violation of innocence, complete with a cast of nude characters and fantastical animals. Act III, the right panel, has been described by art historians as a “hellscape and portrays the torments of damnation” via a dance of perverted love and lust, death, and vanity and ending with an hallucinating nightmare.

Although historians and critics may very well have interpreted the painting as a didactic warning on the perils of life’s torments of damnation, composer Leroy Osmon viewed the painting as a representation of a true garden of earthly delights; an erotic garden, described by American writer Peter S. Beagle as “a place filled with the intoxicating air of perfect liberty.” Osmon’s ballet represents a musical panorama of this lost paradise. Several works from the composer are represented in this composition. When the request to compose the ballet was presented to the composer, Osmon was working on an homage to Ravel and the revision of an early piano concerto. The decision was made to include both works in the ballet along with new material. There are three direct references to Ravel (the composer that Osmon describes as “defining my harmonic world”), as well as two complete movements of the piano concerto that made their way into the ballet. There are brief moments from other composers -- Ives, Grainger, Alwyn, Lloyd, and Revueltas, among others -- that have both inspired and lead the way harmonically and rhythmically for composer Leroy Osmon for more than 50 years.

- Program Note from YouTube video



State Ratings

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Works for Winds by This Composer