Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén & Divertimento To Premiere Dave Brubeck Freestyle in Wellington Friday Night

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Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén and Divertimento. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com


Swedish Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Divertimento will premiere a musical freestyle created by Cees Slings as a tribute to the great American jazz musician Dave Brubeck at the Global Dressage Festival’s World Cup event under lights Friday night.

The Tribute to Dave Brubeck–Take 5 and 6 Legs–will be a rare. perhaps unique, debut for a European star in the United States, making it a highlight of the World Cup event in which combinations from Canada, Italy, Sweden and the United States, including six Olympians, will perform.

Tinne, who has competed in six straight Olympics, won the the World Dressage Masters CDI5* in Florida last month aboard Don Auriello, her London Games mount, with her freestyle to music by The Who that was also created by Cees. It can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/45723092. He also wrote and choreographed the “It’s Broadway” music for Favourit’s freestyle.

Creation of the freestyle to debut this weekend at The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center was a race against the clock for the Dutch composer.

Cees Slings mentioned the idea for a freestyle for Tinne and the 11-year-old Westfalen gelding (Di Versace x Fatima x Ferragamo) nicknamed “Tim,” only six weeks ago. He was commissioned to make it 10 days later.

“It is a very special production,” Cess told dressage-news.com, “for the first time we will hear a real jazz kür, completely in the style of the original recordings.

The idea for a tribute to the legednary Dave Brubeck, a pianist and composer, by creating the freestyle “arose spontaneously” about a week after the musician’s death last Dec. 4 at the age of 91. His album, Time Out” that included his most famous hit, “Take Five,” has sold two million copies.

“Brubeck wrote many pieces in special time-signatures,” said Cees who is also known for the freestyles he created for Anky van Grunsven as the “Queen of the Freestyle.”

“What not many people know is that Brubeck as a child rode horses,” he said. “His father was manager of a large ranch in the United States and Brubeck has always said in interviews that his feeling for particular rhythms arose during horse riding.

“What is even more special with this freestyle is that it contains only one theme and leitmotif–the world famous Take 5 tune and completely builds up and down in an orchestral arrangement, in various settings, from the original Dave Brubeck quartet (piano/bass/drums/saxaphone) to large orchestral big band arrangements.

“It’s like Toville and Dean, the most famous skating couple of all time, who used the famous Bolero by Maurice Ravel (one piece, a theme) in their Olympic freestyle in 1984, and surprised friends and enemies.”

Recording of the music took place at Slings’ own Shepherd Studio in Leersum and Bullet Sound Studios, both in the Netherlands. Final recordings are still taking place at the world famous Wisseloord studios that re-opened last year in Holland.

Cees Slings conferring with Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén on a freestyle. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Cees Slings discussed his preparation of Take 5, 6 legs:

“When Dave Brubeck died in December last year, I started to listen again to some of his famous work and Take 5 opened my eyes for my ultimate goal to create a freestyle, using only one theme. I’ve been fooling around with the theme since last December using the old freestyle of Tim and with Favo’s freestyle.

“Together with Jacob Klaasse, my co-producer, arranger and composer and with Arno van Nieuwhuize, our drummer we’ve been experimenting playing the drums live, watching the horse on the screen. Tricky but it’s really working. Jel Jonge, my dear friend and one of the best brass arrangers you can imagine helped us out in this impossible mission, and remember this phrase when you listen to this new freestyle.

“Allard Buwalda plays the lead alto saxophone. I’m sure Paul Desmond would approve and love his contribution. Allard is a world class saxophone player and more. He will also play the tenor and baritone saxophones, flute and clarinet.

“Anyway; without the skills, input and energy of this great team it would have been a Mission Impossible to complete this freestyle in time.

Choreography & Design

“I’ve designed Tim’s choreography with the help and comments of trainer/coach Louise Nathhorst and Tinne in a very short time. I filmed the first version when I was at Lövsta South (owned by Tinne’s sponsor, Antonia Ax:son Johnson) in Wellington three weeks ago. Unfortunately when I got home I realized that I got sort of lost when filming it and Tinne had to ride and film it again with some adjustments I needed, all because of the music.

“The degree of difficulty is very high. Besides introducing the Nathhorst/Vilhelmson Double Trot-Fishbone figure we will introduce the Single Nathhorst/Vilhelmson Canter Fishbone variation in this freestyle. The N/V Single Trot-Fishbone was introduced and performed with Tinne and Favorit in ‘Its Broadway.’ (Cees is the first freestyle composer to introduce freestyle choreogaphy figures with a name–common in many sports)

Musical settings & time signatures

“The original setting and recording of Take 5 was with the Dave Brubeck Quartet–a small jazz combo, only drums, bass, piano and alto sax.
Top arrangers and producers like Quincy Jones (Michael Jackson) have made covers of this song, including big band versions.

“We have used all the settings possible, from the small original combo to big band; lots of different dynamics, but (almost) using only one time signature–5/8 th.

“Fun thing is that it supports the horse’s gaits in many ways, sometimes the bounce, sometimes the footfall, sometimes a combination of it all; also not on each beat/footfall but on a miraculous 1 or 3 or 4 of 5th footfall, and on front and hind legs–too complex to explain. Watching it with Tim’s ride is a sort of an optical illusion, really funny.

“With the big band setting many accents and phrases are given to the choreography, including dynamics in the extended gaits, pirouettes and flying changes.

“The original song also contains a special drum solo, which was an inspiration for many drummers over the years. We will use this in the walk part, again very original, never done before in a freestyle.”