L'Altelier du tailleur de pierre

A ballet by
John Craton

Scene: An abandoned workshop near Verdun, France, circa 1919


A short ballet for four dancers. As a young girl strolls through a wood near Verdun, she comes upon an abandoned workshop. When she enters she sees that it was a stone-carver’s studio in which there are four large objects covered with canvas. One by one she removes the canvases to reveal statues of a young girl about seven years old, a soldier, and a young woman in a nurse's uniform. As each is unveiled, the statues come to life and dance brief descriptions of their lives. At the conclusion of the three dances, the visiting girl removes the final canvas from an object near the back of the workshop which explains the purpose and relationship of the other statues.

The music incorporates two well-known French melodies in the score. A motif from “Gentil Coquelicot,” a popular children’s song from the period, serves as the theme for Marceline; and a motif from a French soldier’s song from World War I (“Verdun! On ne passe pas”) is the theme for Edouard.

The ballet is dedicated to ballerina Lilian Lukomski for her dedication to the art of ballet.


Girl (Visitor)
Young girl (Marceline)
Soldier (Edouard)
Nurse (Marie-Louise)


Scored for chamber orchestra (flute, oboe, cor anglais, bassoon, strings, piano, harp, and percussion — bass drum, tenor drum, tambourine, triangle, vibraphone, bells, chimes). Total length: appoximately 18 minutes. Score and parts are available on request. Please contact the composer for more information.

Audio Files (computer playback)

Track 1
Track 2
Track 3
Track 4

From the Clockwork Corps de Ballet production of 12 August 2023
Pictured: Lilian Lukomski and Izabelle Jones

Copyright © 2022 by John Craton (ASCAP)

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