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Essential Ballet

Essential Ballet / Various
Release Date: 01/11/2011 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 48650   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Peter Ilyich TchaikovskyLéon Fyodorovich MinkusLouis Ferdinand HeroldSergei Prokofiev,   ... 
Performer:  Jean-Philippe Collard
Conductor:  John LanchberyRobert IrvingBarry WordsworthAndré Previn,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia OrchestraRoyal Philharmonic OrchestraRoyal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Performances clearly been chosen with care and if the repertoire appeals you will certainly enjoy this generous set a great deal.

Surely something of a misnomer? After all, the only essential element that distinguishes ballet is that we see someone dancing or, at the very least, moving, on stage. Music is not actually necessary, let alone essential, as was discussed a few years ago on an interesting Ballet Alert! forum page.

Nonetheless, taking the double-CD set’s title as really meaning “extracts from some of the scores it is essential to be aware of if you are interested in ballet” (which, had it been used, wouldn’t, I imagine, have left much space on the cover for a picture), this is
Read more a pretty good job.

John Lanchbery’s idiomatically theatrical recordings of the Tchaikovsky ballets with the Philharmonia have been much admired since their original release and still sound very impressive, in spite of coming up to their 30 th birthday. The well chosen extracts on disc 1 showcase, in passing, some especially beguiling playing from violinist Christopher Warren-Green and cellist Robert Truman. André Previn was something of a Prokofiev advocate when he headed the London Symphony Orchestra (I seem to recall Alexander Nevsky featuring on BBC TV’s André Previn’s Music Night) and the Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet extracts are, as might be expected, very well done here. Shorter extracts from Minkus’s Don Quixote - Robert Irving conducting an arrangement of his own that I find far preferable to Lanchbery’s as heard on other discs in this EMI series - and Hérold’s La fille mal gardée as winningly conducted by Barry Wordsworth round off a hugely enjoyable first CD.

The contents of the second disc may well be “essential” in the eyes of EMI, but I suspect that not all tracks will necessarily be immediately appealing to a large part of the target market. When I played the discs on a long car journey, for instance, my passengers who described themselves as “enjoying a good tune” and who had loved the Tchaikovsky, the Minkus, the Khachaturian and the Romeo and Juliet (the jury remained out on the Cinderella), found Stravinsky, Poulenc and Ravel to be rather harder work. Once again, however, the performances have clearly been chosen with care and, if the repertoire appeals to you - and with the regular caveat that you should check for unnecessary duplications if collecting other issues in this series - you will certainly enjoy them a great deal.

The very nature of releases like this suggests that they are most likely to be listened to casually rather than with great concentration. Bearing that in mind, it is worth observing that the dynamic range on these discs is very wide indeed and that, when listened to in a car, the ambient noise of the vehicle forces one to turn up the volume for quiet passages only to have to turn it down again regularly whenever a dramatic and musical climax hoves into view.

-- Rob Maynard, MusicWeb International


Performer details
Philharmonia Orchestra/John Lanchbery ( Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Robert Irving ( Don Quixote Act 3)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth ( La fille mal gardée )
London Symphony Orchestra/André Previn ( Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella and Daphnis and Chloé)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Yuri Temirkanov ( Spartacus)
Philharmonia Orchestra/Robert Irving ( Giselle and Les Sylphides)
London Festival Ballet Orchestra/Terence Kern ( Le Corsaire)
New Philharmonia Orchestra/Sir Charles Mackerras ( Coppélia and Sylvia)
Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo/Manuel Rosenthal ( Gaîté Parisienne)
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle ( Petrushka and Apollo)
Philharmonia Orchestra/Georges Prêtre ( Les Biches)
Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse/Michel Plasson ( Symphonic variations and Jewels)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House/John Lanchbery ( Tales of Beatrix Potter)
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Charles Mackerras ( Pineapple Poll)
Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra/Leonard Slatkin ( Rodeo)
City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox ( Serenade and Symphony in C)


 
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Works on This Recording

1.
Swan Lake, Op. 20: Excerpt(s) by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  John Lanchbery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875-1876; Russia 
2.
Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66: Excerpt(s) by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  John Lanchbery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Russia 
3.
Nutcracker, Op. 71: Excerpt(s) by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  John Lanchbery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891-1892; Russia 
4.
Don Quixote: Pas de deux by Léon Fyodorovich Minkus
Conductor:  Robert Irving
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869; Russia 
5.
La fille mal gardée: Excerpt(s) by Louis Ferdinand Herold
Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
6.
Cinderella, Op. 87: Excerpt(s) by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940-1944; USSR 
7.
Spartacus: Adagio - Excerpt(s) by Aram Khachaturian
Conductor:  Yuri Temirkanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954/1968; USSR 
8.
Giselle: Excerpt(s) by Adolphe Adam
Conductor:  Robert Irving
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; France 
9.
Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64: Excerpt(s) by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935-1936; Paris, France 
10.
Gaîté Parisienne: Overture from "La vie parisienne" by Jacques Offenbach
Conductor:  Manuel Rosenthal
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
11.
Le corsaire: Pas de deux by Riccardo Drigo
Conductor:  Terence Kern
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Festival Ballet Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; Russia 
12.
Coppélia: Waltz by Léo Delibes
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
13.
Coppélia: Czárdás by Léo Delibes
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1870; France 
14.
Sylvia: Pizzicati by Léo Delibes
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Written: 1876 
15.
Pétrouchka: Danse russe by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Michel Plasson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911/1947; Switzerland 
16.
Apollo: Coda by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; USA 
17.
Les Sylphides: Excerpt(s) by Frédéric Chopin
Conductor:  Robert Irving
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
18.
Les biches: Rondeau by Francis Poulenc
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; France 
19.
Daphnis et Chloé: Danse générale "Bacchanale" by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909-1912; France 
20.
Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra, M 46: Excerpt(s) by César Franck
Performer:  Jean-Philippe Collard (Piano)
Conductor:  Michel Plasson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; France 
21.
Gnossiennes (6) for Piano: no 1 by Erik Satie
Conductor:  John Lanchbery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1890; France 
22.
Tales of Beatrix Potter: Excerpt(s) by John Lanchbery
Conductor:  John Lanchbery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
23.
Pineapple Poll: Opening Dance by Arthur Sullivan
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1951 
24.
Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes - no 4, Hoe-down by Aaron Copland
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; USA 
25.
Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48: 2nd movement, Waltz by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Russia 
26.
Pelléas et Mélisande, Op. 80: Excerpt(s) by Gabriel Fauré
Conductor:  Michel Plasson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; France 
Notes:  From the ballet "Jewels" by Balanchine.  
27.
Symphony in C major: 4th movement, Allegro vivace by Georges Bizet
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855; France 

Sound Samples

Swan Lake Op.20: No.10: Scene (Moderato)
Swan Lake Op. 20, Act II, 13. Dances of the Swans: IV. Dance of the Cygnets (Allegro moderato)
Swan Lake Op. 20, Act II, 13. Dances of the Swans: V. Andante - Andante non troppo - Allegro (Christopher Warren-Green, violin; Robert Truman, cello)
Swan Lake Op. 20, Act III: 21. Spanish Dance (Allegro non troppo: tempo di bolero)
Sleeping Beauty Op. 66, Act I: 'The Spell', 8. Pas d'action:: Rose Adagio (Andante - Adagio maestoso)
Sleeping Beauty Op. 66, Act I: 'The Spell': 6. Waltz (Allegro: Tempo di valse)
The Nutcracker Op. 71, Divertissement: Variation 2: Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy - Coda [to Pas de deux]
The Nutcracker Op. 71, Divertissement: Dance of the Reed Flutes
The Nutcracker Op. 71, Divertissement: Waltz of the Flowers
Pas de deux: Kitri and Basilio (Act III): I. Entree
Pas de deux: Kitri and Basilio (Act III): II. Adage
Pas de deux: Kitri and Basilio (Act III): III. Basilio's Solo
Pas de deux: Kitri and Basilio (Act III): IV. Kitri's Solo
Pas de deux: Kitri and Basilio (Act III): V. Coda
La Fille mal gardèe: Widow Simone - Clog Dance (Act II)
La Fille mal gardée - Ballet in two acts (highlights), Act II: 29. Pas de deux
Cinderella: Fairies: No. 12 Spring Fairy (Allegro)
Cinderella: Fairies: No. 13 Summer Fairy (Andantino sognando)
Cinderella: Fairies: No. 15 Autumn Fairy (Allegro moderato)
Cinderella: Fairies: No. 16 Winter Fairy (Allegro moderato)
Cinderella - Ballet in three acts Op. 87, Act II: Pas de deux: The Prince and Cinderella (Adagio)
Spartacus_Ballet Suite No. 2: Adagio
Romeo and Juliet (1987 Digital Remaster): Dance of the Knights
Romeo and Juliet (1987 Digital Remaster): Balcony Scene (Act1) ((3 tracks as one))
Giselle (2008 Digital Remaster): Valse (Act I)
Giselle (2008 Digital Remaster): Pas de deux (Act II)
Le Corsaire - Pas de deux and Variations (1996 Digital Remaster): I. Pas de deux
Le Corsaire - Pas de deux and Variations (1996 Digital Remaster): II. Variation 1
Le Corsaire - Pas de deux and Variations (1996 Digital Remaster): III. Variation 2
Le Corsaire - Pas de deux and Variations (1996 Digital Remaster): IV. Coda
Coppélia (1988 Digital Remaster): Waltz
Coppélia (1988 Digital Remaster): Czárdás
Gaîté Parisienne (1989 Digital Remaster): Overture (La Vie Parisienne)
Sylvia (Suite): Pizzicati
Petrushka - Scènes burlesques en quatre tableaux, Première tableau: Le tour de passe-passe - Danse russe
Apollo - Ballet en deux tableaux (1947 revised version), Deuxième tableaux: Coda (Apollon et les Muses)
Les Sylphides (1994 Digital Remaster): Grande Valse brillante in E flat, Op.18
Les Biches (1981 Digital Remaster): Rondeau
Daphnis et Chloé (complete ballet), Part III: 4. Danse générale - Bacchanale
Variations symphoniques
Monotones: Gnossienne No. 1 (Lent)
Tales of Beatrix Potter - Music from the Royal Ballet film: Mrs Tiggy-Winkle's Laundry
Pineapple Poll - Suite: I. Opening Dance
Rodeo (1999 Digital Remaster): Hoe-Down
Serenade in C Op. 48: II. Valse. (Moderato: Tempo di valse)
Shylock - incidental music Op.57 (2001 Digital Remaster): Final
Symphony in C: IV. Final : Allegro vivace

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