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The World Of Ballet / Anatole Fistoulari

Fistoulari / New Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 11/19/2010 
Label:  Eloquence   Catalog #: 4802391   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giuseppe VerdiModest MussorgskyCamille Saint-SaënsGioachino Rossini,   ... 
Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Conservatoire OrchestraNew Symphony OrchestraRoyal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



THE WORLD OF BALLET Anatole Fistoulari, cond DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 2391 (2 CDs: 133:39)


With Paris Cons O: VERDI Aida: Ballet Music. MUSSORGSKY Khovanshchina: Dance of the Persian Slaves. SAINT-SAËNS Samson and Delilah: Bacchanale. Read more ROSSINI William Tell: Ballet Music. With New SO: STRAUSS-DORATI Graduation Ball. With Royal Opera House, Covent Garden O: WEBER-BERLIOZ Invitation to the Dance. MINKUS Don Quixote: Pas de deux. LECOCQ-JACOB Mam’zelle Angot. WALTON Façade: Suites Nos. 1, 2


Although Anatole Fistoulari’s recording career was not strictly limited to ballet music, his experience in that field obviously influenced the assignments that Decca/London handed him. Here he is doing a batch of pieces that served as dance music, no matter what the composer’s intention may have been. Since the “best” recordings of these pieces are unlikely to appear on the same collection, I will begin by saying that, if the contents are tempting, I can recommend these particular performances as highly proficient and well recorded and merely add a few words about the contents.


From act II of Aida , Fistoulari does the Dance of the Moorish Slaves , then goes directly into a shortened introduction to the Triumphal March , minus the chorus. The march itself follows, then comes what is usually referred to as the “ Aida Ballet Music.” Some, as I do, may find the tempos on the fast side. The Mussorgsky and Saint-Saëns excerpts are mostly solid, conventional performances, but he does give the Bacchanal a frenzied coda. While looking for alternate recordings of the William Tell ballet music, I discovered one by Richard Bonynge that, while billed as the “ William Tell Ballet Music,” actually uses completely different music from the opera. What Fistoulari does is the music from act I plus the Soldiers’ Dance from act III. Bonynge, excluding the Soldiers’ Dance, does the rest of the act III ballet music, much of which is sung by the chorus in the opera but merely played by the orchestra on Bonynge’s recording. If you see a recording advertised as “ William Tell Ballet Music,” it’s probably going to be the music that Fistoulari does. I simply could not find another recording of Graduation Ball , a 1940 concoction of David Lichine (choreography) and Antal Doráti (music) except for a Charles Mackerras version that is part of a 50-disc (!) CD set. I guess that’s one recording of Graduation Ball that I won’t be hearing very soon. In compiling the music, Doráti used (mostly) unfamiliar pieces by Johann Strauss Jr. Fistoulari’s recording is billed as “Ballet Suite” but I don’t remember the whole ballet lasting much more than the 37 minutes his recording consumes, so I wonder.


Leopold Stokowski once made an abbreviated recording of Felix Weingartner’s orchestration of Weber’s Invitation to the Dance but, after that, he used the same Hector Berlioz edition (with a few touches of his own) that everyone else, including Fistoulari, uses. Benny Goodman’s theme song, Let’s Dance , was based on the swaying second theme. The Berlioz orchestration is the result of the 19th-century Parisian “need” for ballet music in the opera. In 1841, Berlioz was asked to provide ballet music for a production of Der Freischütz . Not wishing to insert music of his own, he instead orchestrated Invitation to the Dance . In 1911, Mikhail Fokine choreographed the music for a ballet he called Spectre of the Rose . Weber must have had faith in the knowledge or manners of the public: Invitation to the Dance seems to end with a loud flourish but then, there’s a brief pause, followed by the return of the quiet introduction. I wonder how many times this subdued coda has been drowned out by loud applause (rather like the bassoon solo that opens the slow movement of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto). I once heard Jorge Bolet perform Weber’s original and, no matter how hard he tried to convey the message that the piece wasn’t over yet, the audience burst into loud applause, forcing him to delay the coda. I wish Fistoulari had taken a more leisurely tempo, but what he does is beautifully executed. The flashy Pas de deux from Minkus’s Don Quixote is, arguably, more popular than the complete ballet; it certainly appears on a lot of ballet galas.


In 1943, for (American) Ballet Theater, Efrem Kurtz extracted excerpts from the frothy, tuneful music of Charles Lecocq (1832–1918), including the operetta La Fille de Madam Angot , which was then orchestrated by Richard Mohaupt and choreographed by Leonid Massine. Kurtz recorded a suite from the score with the New York Philharmonic. The ballet, which takes its farcical, convoluted plot from the operetta, was such a big hit that Massine was asked to stage it in London. For whatever reason, it was decided that an arrangement by Gordon Jacob should replace the Kurtz/Mohaupt version, and that is the one used by Fistoulari in this recording. Although what Fistoulari uses isn’t billed as a suite, that is what it is, for the whole Lecocq-Jacob score runs nearly an hour, and he gives us 24 minutes. Handicapped from birth, Lecocq spent most of his life walking with the assistance of crutches. He did not lack for recognition, becoming a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1900 and an Officer in 1910.


Although Walton’s Façade was not intended for dancing, some of it was eventually choreographed by Frederick Ashton, using an existing suite and a later group selected by Walton and called Suite No. 2. This is pretty tough music to spoil and Fistoulari certainly has its measure, using the order in which the pieces appear in Ashton’s ballet.


FANFARE: James Miller
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Works on This Recording

1. Aida: Dance of the Moorish Slaves by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
2. Khovanshchina: Dance of the Persian Slaves by Modest Mussorgsky
Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1872-1880; Russia 
3. Samson et Dalila, Op. 47: Bacchanale by Camille Saint-Saëns
Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra
Written: 1877 
4. Guillaume Tell: Pas de six by Gioachino Rossini
Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829; Italy 
5. Graduation Ball by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Vienna, Austria 
6. Invitation to the Dance, in D flat major J 260/Op. 65 by Carl Maria von Weber
Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1819; Dresden, Germany 
7. Don Quixote: Pas de deux by Léon Fyodorovich Minkus
Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869; Russia 
8. Mam'zelle Angot by Charles Lecocq
Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
9. Façade: Suite no 1 by Sir William Walton
Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1926; England 
10. Façade: Suite no 2 by Sir William Walton
Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1938; England 

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