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CD One

Tchaikovsky:Swan Lake

1. Scena (Moderato)
2. Walyz
3. Dance of the Little Swans
4. Pas de deux

L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducted by Ernest Ansermet

Tchaikovsky:The Nutcracker

5. March
6. Chinese Dance
7. Trépak
8. Dance of the Mirlitons
9. Waltz Of The Flowers
11.Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducted by Ernest Ansermet

Tchaikovsky:The Sleeping Beauty

12.Prologue – Introduction – March
14.Pas d’action

L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducted by Ernest Ansermet


16.Pas de deux
17.Amoroso (Andante dolcissimo)

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Robert Irving

Prokofiev:Romeo and Juliet

18.The Montagues and the Capulets…Dance of the Knights
19.Romeo at Juliet’s Tomb

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Karel Ancerl

CD Two

1. Ravel:Bolero-Finale:Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Charles Munch

2. Ravel: La valse:L’Orchestre de la Suise Romande conducted by Ernest Ansermet

3. Saint-Saens:The Carnival of the Animals: The Swan
    London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Skitch Henderson

4. Herold:La fille mal gardée:Clog Dance:
     Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden conducted by John    


5. Introduction and Mazurka
6. Introduction and Waltz
7. Czardas

L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducted by Ernest Ansermet


8. Les chasseresses (Fanfare)
9. Valse lente
11.Apparation d’Endymion

London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Anatole Fistoulari


13.Pas de deux
14.La chasse
15.Entrée de Loys

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Herbert von Karajan

Meyerbeer:Les Patineurs


London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robert Irving

Poulenc:Les biches


London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Anatole Fistoulari

CD Three

1. Weber:Invitation To The Dance
    Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Fritz Reiner

Chopin:Les Sylphides

2. Overture: Prelude in A major
3. Mazurka in C major
4. Grande valse brillante

Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Robert Irving

5. Minkus:Don Quixote: Pas de deux
   Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by George Weldon

Rossini (arr.Respighi): La Boutique fantasque

6. Overture
7. Tarantella
8. Can-Can

Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by Arthur Fiedler


9. Act I, Scene I: Lento maestoso
10.Act III: Entr’acte

Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Lovro von Matacic

     RCA Victor Orchestra conducted by Kirill Kondrashin

12.Khachaturian:Spartacus:Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia
     Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra conducted by Alexander Gauk

13.Khachaturian:Gayaneh: Sabre Dance
     Lenningrad Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gennadi Rozhtdetsvensky

14.Stravinsky:Petrushka:The Shrovetide Fair
    L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducted by Ernest Ansermet

15.Stravinsky:The Firebird:Infernal Dance
     L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducted by Ernest Ansermet

16.Stravinsky:The Rite Of Spring (Le sacre du printemps):Sacrificial Dance
     Columbia Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein

Ballet Favourites

Artist Various Artists

Format 3CD

Cat No M3CD308

Bar-Code 5060294543084

Availability: In stock


This compendium covers a golden age, a century during which the ballet emerged from being a court entertainment to the cutting-edge of 20th-century modernity. The majority of the works represented here are French or Russian: this is no coincidence. Classical ballet has its origins in the baroque opera-ballets of the 18th-century French court and its roots in Paris. Hardly surprising, then, that, with the growing cosmopolitanism and wealth of the Russian court in St.Petersburg, French composers and ballet-masters should be drawn to Russia, and it was not long before Russian composers, too, began composing for the ballet.
Adam, Delibes and Hérold set the gold standard for French classical ballet. This was an era when the music was expected to serve the needs of the dancers. Coppélia, Sylvia and Giselle were typical fairy-tale subjects, providing opportunity for fantasy, drama, magic and romance. The greatest of the ballet composers seized the opportunity to provide music that went far beyond mere accompaniment to the dance, earning immortality for themselves and lasting popularity for their scores. Ballet was also an essential component of French grand opera. Meyerbeer was the most successful composer in Paris and contributed some of the most memorable ballet music.


Austrian-born Minkus became Ballet Composer of the Russian Imperial Theatres and brought the culture of French classical ballet to Russia, himself making important contributions to the genre. He prepared fertile ground for the next major breakthrough in the world of ballet. Tchaikovsky’s three great ballets, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker represent the pinnacle of the classical ballet. Tchaikovsky had admired Adam’s ballet Giselle and knew the work of ballet composers such as Delibes, Minkus and Drigo. Tchaikovsky was a very different composer from his French colleagues, however. For all that he was a man of the theatre – he would complete no less than eight operas – he was also a symphonic genius. The first Moscow audiences were puzzled by the score of Swan Lake. Never before had they heard such an overwhelming symphonic score accompany the dance. The Sleeping Beauty, produced in St. Petersburg, fared rather better: it was reputed to have been the most expensive production ever staged at the Maryinsky Theatre. The Nutcracker is the least ‘symphonic’ of the three Tchaikovsky ballets. It is an altogether lighter creation than his earlier ballets, for its subject-matter is indeed fantastical rather than heavily dramatic, a magical confection of delights which drew from the composer some of his most charming a delightful fancies. Its popularity has never faded.


Tchaikovsky was a hard act to follow. Glazunov’s Raymonda is a worthy successor, however, richly lyrical, highly dramatic and with lush orchestration. Less performed as a ballet nowadays, its highly dramatic music remains popular. Khachaturian, however, was much more in the tradition of Rimsky-Korsakov, drawing on the colourful tradition of Russian folk and fairy tales. Like Rimsky, Khachaturian was a great melodist and a wonderful orchestrator, gifts richly employed in his exotic Masquerade and Spartacus.


Between 1910 and 1913, Russian ballet returned to Paris. The three ballets Stravinsky composed for Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes Paris seasons changed the course of 20th-century music. They owe practically nothing to the French classical ballet tradition and are utterly Russian. In The Firebird, the composer looks back over his shoulder to his teacher Rimsky-Korsakov and his Russian folk-tale heritage with a sizzling evocation of an ancient Russia legend. In Petruchka he paints a colourful canvas evoking a rural shrove-tide fair. Then, The Rite of Spring, a score which tore up all the rules of harmony and rhythm, a primitive unleashing of atavistic power which caused a riot at its first performance and changed the direction of musical history. The old traditions of the classical French ballet are light-years away.


Prokofiev lived in very different times. A cosmopolitan Russian at home in Europe’s capitals, his life changed when the ties of home drew him back to live in Stalinist Russia. There are no hints of his troubled existence in the scores of his two ballet masterworks, Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet. The music is steeped in its Russian heritage but speaks with the accents of modernity. Three characteristics stand out in both these works: vivid and dramatic illustration of the story, powerful lyricism tempered by astringency and, perhaps above all, a dazzling mastery of the orchestra.


In the course of the 20th century the classical ballet has held its own with St.Petersburg and Moscow holding their time- honoured place as centres of excellence. French composers, too, have continued to refresh the ballet repertoire: Poulenc’s lovely Les Biches being a prime example. Pieces originally written as concert works have been used as ballet music – composers as varied as Rossini, Weber, Chopin and Ravel have been drawn upon to good effect. Ballet music has never before offered such a feast.


Sleeve notes by John Kehoe

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