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Totilas' new rider behind the scenes

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  • Totilas' new rider behind the scenes

    Happy New Year from the UK! I was looking for info on Totilas' new rider Matthias Rath and came across this video.


    It's from last year and shows Matthias behind the scenes preparing a brand new freestyle for his young Grand Prix horse Triviant. He seems a very likeable young man and certainly takes his job seriously. I can't wait to see him and Totilas in competition.

  • #2
    Neat video!


    • #3
      Great look behind the scenes...!
      Thanks for posting the link.
      Siegi Belz
      2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
      Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.


      • #4
        I love the older gentleman working with him. Who is he?


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by mimiwenk View Post
          I love the older gentleman working with him. Who is he?
          Hello again. According to the youtube video info it must be Cees Slings, his freestyle composer and producer. I've looked up some websites and pictures and I'm sure it's him. He made Laura Bechtolsheimer’s freestyle for Mistral Hojris and there’s quite a lot about this on www.horsehero.com including


          He also did lots of Anky van Grunsven’s most famous freestyles.

          Wow I would love to have a musical coach who would work with me like that, how amazing.


          • #6
            I love the music. I can imagine the moves w/o seeing the freestyle. Is it Rhapsody in Blue?


            • #7
              I think the music IS horrible. They might like it at a nursing home!


              • #8
                Well, well.... I'm glad you got that off your baroque chest!
                Siegi Belz
                2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
                Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by baroqueNheart View Post
                  I think the music IS horrible. They might like it at a nursing home!
                  Well, I've been told!!!


                  • Original Poster

                    Yes it’s Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, and I was lucky enough to see Matthias Rath ride it for the first time at the World Cup final in Den Bosch last year. I remember that the commentator (Dane Rawlins, a British dressage trainer and rider) really enjoyed this freestyle as it had some very original choreography tricks in it that he had never seen before and they made him smile. The music, in his opinion, was very original too and fitted the programme perfectly. I’m trying to find the video on the internet. If anyone does, please let me know!

                    Hi baroqueNheart, it’s a shame you don’t like the music. We all have personal preferences but this is one of the 20th century’s great ‘modern classical’ pieces and surely doesn’t deserve to be confined to the nursing home! Anky van Grunsven rode Bonfire to a West Side Story freestyle, another modern classical piece, and won everything with it, and some of her other freestyles contained music from the early to mid 20th century. Does your name give away that you prefer earlier music?


                    • #11
                      I don't mind classical music. But that was corny, synthesized muzak. Big difference. It's like vinyl vs leather. That muzak is definitely not a match for Totilas. Seriously you guys would ride to that? Really? With all the choices available?
                      That's "Modern Crappical"


                      • #12
                        I agree that the composition of this song is cheesy and synthesized...it would otherwise be a great one for a freestyle!


                        • Original Poster

                          Me again. Gosh I am surprised at how strongly you say that you don’t like this music, and that it is ‘synthesised musak’ and ‘cheesy’! As I said earlier, Cees Slings was one of the composers, along with Victor Kerkhof, of Anky van Grunsven’s Olympic, World and European championship winning freestyles – surely we should have respect for that? And as opposed to using synthesisers, I was under the impression that Slings and his team are famous for using complete orchestras, as they did with Anky’s freestyles.

                          Anyway guys, you have got me thinking so I decided to go straight to the horse’s mouth and have emailed Cees Slings through his Facebook page to ask how he puts these programmes together. Here’s what I asked and I’m waiting for his reply.

                          1. Please can you tell me about the musical choice for the Triviant freestyle?
                          2. Is it an existing recording that has been ‘cut and pasted’ to make it fit?
                          3. If not, did you use synthesisers to make a new version?
                          4. How much input do you have into the choreography?
                          5. Will you be involved in the new freestyle for Totilas, because Matthias Rath is one of your clients and you have already made freestyle programmes for Unicef Triviant and Unicef Sterntaler?

                          As soon as I hear something I will post Cees' reply here!


                          • #14
                            Honestly, I believe I have muted most of Anky's freestyle rides. Is it choreographed well to the music? Yes. Do I enjoy the music? No. It's not stirring.

                            Gal's ride is on Totilas is stirring.


                            • Original Poster

                              Now I think you are teasing me baroqueNheart! Are you serious that you muted Anky’s freestyles? The judges certainly didn’t agree with you but we all have different personal likes and dislikes.

                              As for Totilas’ freestyle, I agree the music is stirring and creates a wonderful atmosphere. But did you know that a great deal of it is from Jean Michelle Jarre and Hans Zimmer – two composers famed for their use of synthesisers! And I’ve found lots of comments on the internet from people who did not like the Totilas music at all. It seems that the sport of dressage freestyle is very, very subjective. I’m not sure this should be the case, otherwise how can the judging be truly fair?

                              I have received a reply from Cees Slings on Facebook but not the answers yet. He wants to know who I am etc so as soon as I have some info from him as to how he works and puts these freestyles together I will post on here.


                              • #16
                                So baroque, do you just find Edward's ride on Totilas stunning, or is it the music? You're not being clear....

                                By the way, I just listened to parts of the video again and I'm 100% sure that it's not synthesized music but rather a pretty large orchestra.:-)
                                Siegi Belz
                                2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
                                Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Originally posted by siegi b. View Post
                                  So baroque, do you just find Edward's ride on Totilas stunning, or is it the music? You're not being clear....

                                  By the way, I just listened to parts of the video again and I'm 100% sure that it's not synthesized music but rather a pretty large orchestra.:-)
                                  Hi Siegi, are you referring to the Triviant video in your comment above or the Totilas freestyle?


                                  • #18
                                    I enjoyed the music for Gal's ride on Totilas. Powerful and dark. I really felt the music described the horse. I'm sure there were some synthesizers in his music, but I hear orchestra. I hear specific instruments. I LOVE the bell for his pirouettes. I can show his ride to a non- horsey person and they will watch the entire ride.

                                    Yes, I wasn't joking that I muted Anky's freestyle. Much to "hokey" for me.

                                    Music choice is completely subjective. I'm sure there are some that like what Cees puts together, and I understand that. But I think the choice of music should describe the horse. I don't think Cees music describes a horse.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Hello again, I am so excited as I received a wonderful response from Cees Slings explaining all about Triviant’s Rhapsody in Blue freestyle. If you know anyone who is interested in freestyle please direct them to this thread so they can enjoy this information. Mr Slings has let me correct some of his English so I hope it all makes sense.

                                      Dear Anthony Rowley
                                      Please find below my first answer. Your question about Totilas and a possible new freestyle is something between me and my client so I hope you'll understand this.
                                      I'm too busy to answer all of your questions at once, but I'm willing to do it one by one. Your questions are straightforward, the answers are a bit more complex. I’ll send some more information as soon as I can!
                                      Kind regards

                                      Triviant-Unicef Freestyle
                                      Your first question: the musical concept and idea

                                      The Rhapsody in Blue concept (RIB) is one I came up with during my first meetings with Triviant at Kronberg Stables, Germany, when we started designing the freestyle choreography. Matthias and I had met before in Holland. I found out that Matthias' father, Klaus Rath, who trains and coaches him, loves old music boxes; he has collected some really rare examples and one of them I found in the rooms above the stables. It triggered some thoughts in me to do something with it.

                                      I love this kind of music machine and it was also close to the idea I had in mind for composing a music-box theme (and a tune) for our daughter Vera. (I composed a tune for my son Marc, called Marc's Party, many years ago now, when he was a kid. Fortunately it became a huge tv-tune hit; so why not try it again!)

                                      Matthias is also gifted with a musical ear and talent, he studied piano and has an incredible knowledge (for his age) of a wide range of music, from classical to pop and everything in between. This kind of client makes me happy, because when I bring up a tune, song or piece, they know it, or at least have heard about it.

                                      All my freestyle productions have a story, not only in the music but also why and how it is made. Perhaps you've heard about this, or not. It also has to fit the rider, his/her idea and musical taste and it has to fit the combination (rider and horse) in the choreography. Triviant is a young horse, with lots of talent. Because Triviant is Matthias’ B horse we thought we could permit ourselves a sort of experiment; or at least to do something young and 'wild, experimental and modern'. We also had in mind to use Triviant and this freestyle to do something special, something I had done in the past with Anky van Grunsven - to use a freestyle plus a top rider and horse to promote dressage to a wider audience

                                      We also knew from the beginning that Gerhswin's RIB is not a piece of music that is to everyone’s taste; at least if you use the original score and don't make an ‘easy listening’ piece of it. On the other hand it gave us many complex tempi changes, widely varying tempi (very nice for a freestyle), time signatures and rich instrumentation (we used Ferdi Grofé's orchestral score). This gave us a wide range to experiment with the choreography. RIB has very strong motives and leitmotivs and I do believe, that if you don't have a musical sense, this piece could be too much to handle.

                                      It also showed a lot of the courage of Matthias, who insisted we use this piece because he loved it and enjoyed riding to it. So with Matthias' skills, his father's coaching and the easy to handle Triviant we created the choreography; a piece of team work. There are some nice, original transitions in it and it made many judges and commentators smile, what more could you ask for?

                                      I also developed the second idea behind it; to make a special show version for two riders and horses. I have a poster for this which I will try to post on the internet. Create your own ideas how this could work out. However in horse/dressage sport things can change so I cannot reveal the plans about it at this stage. Imagine; Victoria Max Theurer and Matthias Rath in a Pas de Deux, wouldn't that be fun?

                                      When I came up with the idea of RIB, the link to music-boxes became clear; Gershwin's RIB (the original title was ' an experiment in modern music') was one of the first pieces recorded with the piano-roll; a 'modern' development of music boxes. It also gave an extra dimension as to how the freestyle show could be produced; with the use of a pianola playing the lead piano parts of this piece. At this moment I'm working on a new website, it will be used for explaining and showing how we create freestyles. In the meantime I will upload some videos on youtube; not public but only for those who are interested. I will let you know asap. I will also add some of the videos of the orchestral studio recordings of this freestyle; in fact it's the answer to your other question: did you use synthesizers to make a new version? (I wish I had synthesizers here that could do this - it would make things much easier and cheaper!!)

                                      Finally here is some very interesting Wiki info about RIB; perhaps you can use it for your blog and correspondence with freestyle lovers and disbelievers of RIB. I predict you will receive either very positive reactions or very negatives ones. I advise you to ignore the last ones; it doesn’t make sense to try to discuss points with either narrow minded persons or those who want to be totally subjective.

                                      I'm aware that my team and I are the explorers in freestyle dressage music, and we have received many negative comments in the past too. On the other hand I still meet a lot of people who do understand that dressage music has to move on; we started this journey in 1995 with Bonfire's Symphony and changed freestyle dressage with it; and we still do. We love to do it and will continue, don't worry! Here is the Wiki info...

                                      "By the end of 1927, Whiteman’s band had played the Rhapsody eighty-four times, and its recording sold a million copies.[14] Whiteman later adopted the piece as his band's theme song, and opened his radio programs with the slogan "Everything new but the Rhapsody in Blue".
                                      The piece received mixed reviews from mainstream critics. Olin Downes, reviewing the concert in The New York Times: This composition shows extraordinary talent, as it shows a young composer with aims that go far beyond those of his ilk, struggling with a form of which he is far from being master... In spite of all this, he has expressed himself in a significant and, on the whole, highly original form.... His first theme... is no mere dance-tune... it is an idea, or several ideas, correlated and combined in varying and contrasting rhythms that immediately intrigue the listener. The second theme is more after the manner of some of Mr. Gershwin's colleagues. Tuttis are too long, cadenzas are too long, the peroration at the end loses a large measure of the wildness and magnificence it could easily have had if it were more broadly prepared, and, for all that, the audience was stirred and many a hardened concertgoer excited with the sensation of a new talent finding its voice... There was tumultuous applause for Gershwin's composition.[10]"


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Originally posted by siegi b. View Post
                                        So baroque, do you just find Edward's ride on Totilas stunning, or is it the music? You're not being clear....

                                        By the way, I just listened to parts of the video again and I'm 100% sure that it's not synthesized music but rather a pretty large orchestra.:-)
                                        I didn't hear from you Siegi but I assume you have listened to the Triviant video again and have good ears to recognise the quality of the music. As you have noted, Mr Slings has confirmed it is an orchestra, not synthesisers.