Tchaikovsky – The Swan Lake Ballet + Presentation (Century’s recording : G.Rozhdestvensky)


The special aspect of this recording : The ballet Swan Lake, originally performed in 1877, is not only one of the most famous works by Tchaikovsky, it is the very epitome of Romantic ballet and is one of the most popular repertoire pieces performed by ballet companies around the world. At the same time it is one of the least know ballets : Immediately after Tchaikovsky’s death, beginning with rehearsals at the Mariinsky Theatre in St.Petersburg in 1894, a tradition began of changing the sequence of scenes, leaving out sections of the music, adding others, and changing parts of the plot and some of the characters. This is all the more regrettable because the plot and its realization originated with Tchaikovsky himself. There are several assumptions as to the origin of the libretto which are merely attributable to reminiscences by Nikolay Kashkin, a friend of the composer, and his brother, Modest Tchaikovsky. These vary between the director of the Imperial Russian Theatre Vladimir Begichev, a dancer and soloist at the Bolshoy theatre in Moscow Vasily Heltser, and Julius Wenzel Reisiger, ballet master at the Bolshoy, whose choreography was the version used for the premiere of Swan Lake on March 4, 1877. It was not until 1958, when Tchaikovsky’s entire works were published in an academic edition, that Swan Lake was made accessible once again to the public in its original form. It was quite a sensation when Gennady Rozhdestvensky recorded the original score (including the two numbers composed later by Tchaikovsky, the pas de deux and the Russian dance for Act III). END Act I. The park of a castle. Siegfried, the son of a Sovereign Princess, is celebrating his coming-of-age with his friends and his retinue. Peasants have also come to wish him well. Siegfried’s mother disturbs the light-hearted merriment. She tells her son it is time he found a wife; at the ball the following evening he is to choose a bride. Siegfried’s reaction is not positive; he is moody, but his friends console him and contrive to take his mind off things. The merriment continues until darkness falls, ending in a polonaise. Siegfried sees in the distance a flock of swans passing by and he makes off to hunt them. END Act II. At the edge of a lake, surrounded by wild mountains, the ruins of a castle in the foreground. Swans are swimming on the lake, led by a swan with a golden crown on its head. Siegfried reaches the lake, sees the birds and takes aim. But the swans disappear and a young woman wearing a crown on her head appears in the ruins. She tells Siegfried that she is the swan which he intended to kill. Her name is Odette, daughter of a good fairy and a knight who betrayed his love for the sake of another woman, thereby bringing about the death of her mother. Her grandfather was so sad as a result that he retreated alone into the woods and cried so many tears that the lake was formed. She explains that only when wearing the crown may she avoid the traps set by her wicked stepmother. By day Odette is a swan, and by night a human being. The Prince throws away his weapon. With increasing confidence, a group of girls, Odette’s friends, surrounds him. Siegfried falls in love with the virgin swan and swears to be ever true to her. Odette warns him that if he ever breaks his oath, he must pay with his life. At that point, the dawn begins to break. The girls disappear. A flock of swans swims away across the lake, followed by a threatening giant owl. Act III. At the ball given by the Sovereign Princess. Final preparations are being made. The hostess appears with her son and guests begin to arrive. The ball begins. Siegfried’s mother tells her son to choose a bride from the girls present. Siegfried, however, is thinking only of Odette. Redbeard the evil genius appears, mixing with the nobility and introducing his daughter Odile, who looks for all the world like Odette, Siegfried is fooled. He dances with her, believing her to be Odette, kisses her hand, proclaiming her his bride. We hear the triumphant call of the owl. Redbeard throws off his disguise. A strong wind rips open the windows; a swan wearing a crown passes by. Siegfried recognizes the trickery -. He flees the castle, in search of his true love. END Act IV. At the lake’s edge. Odette’s friends await her arrival; to pass the time, they are giving the little swans a lesson. On returning, Odette reveals Siegfried’s treachery to her friends. A storm is brewling. Despite the danger to her, Odette waits for her lover, who soon appears at the lake, Siegfried begs her forgiveness, which she grants, thought it cannot alter her fate. She breaks loose from his embrace. Siegfried tries in vain to hold her, knocking the crown from her head in the process. The owl flies in to grab Odette’s protective charm. The storm comes to a head; the waters of the lake spill onto the shore, swallowing up both Odette and Siegfried. Then the storm subsides. The moon shines and illuminates the lake, now calm again, across which a flock of swans is swimming. (text from original libretto) END

20 Replies to “Tchaikovsky – The Swan Lake Ballet + Presentation (Century’s recording : G.Rozhdestvensky)”

  1. Classical Music/ /Reference Recording says:

    Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) – The Swan Lake / El Lago De Los Cisnes / Schwanensee / Le Lac des Cygnes, Ballet in Four Acts, Op.20
    Introduction (00:00)
    Click to activate the English subtitles for the presentation (00:00–02:07)

    Acte I. Le parc d'un château. Siegfried, le fils d'une princesse souveraine, fête son passage à l'âge adulte avec ses amis et sa suite. Les paysans sont également venus lui souhaiter bonne chance. La mère de Siegfried perturbe la gaieté. Elle dit à son fils qu'il est temps qu'il trouve une épouse ; au bal du lendemain soir, il doit choisir une épouse. La réaction de Siegfried n'est pas positive ; il est de mauvaise humeur, mais ses amis le consolent et lui font oublier tout cela. La joie continue jusqu'à ce que l'obscurité tombe et se termine par une polonaise. Siegfried voit au loin passer une volée de cygnes et il s'en va les chasser.
    Act I. Click to activate the English subtitles for the presentation (02:48–03:19)
    No.1 Scène – Allegro giusto (02:48)
    No.2 Valse/Waltz – Tempo di valse (05:41)
    No.3 Scène – Allegro moderato (12:34)
    No.4 Pas de trois
    I.Intrada – Allegro (16:15)
    II.Andante sostenuto (18:18)
    III.Allegro semplice – Presto (20:49)
    IV.Moderato (22:00)
    V.Allegro (23:04)
    VI.Coda – Allegro vivace (24:10)
    No.5 Pas de deux
    I.Tempo di valse ma non troppo vivo, quasi moderato (25:48)
    II.Adante – Allegro (27:57)
    III.Tempo di valse (33:00)
    IV.Coda – Allegro molto vivace (34:32)
    No.6 Pas d’action – Andantino quasi moderato – Allegro (36:23)
    No.7 Sujet (38:06)
    No.8 Danse des coupes/goblets – Tempo di polacca (38:42)
    No.9 Finale – Andante (44:41)

    Acte II. Au bord d'un lac, entouré de montagnes sauvages, les ruines d'un château au premier plan. Des cygnes nagent sur le lac, menés par un cygne à la couronne d'or sur la tête. Siegfried atteint le lac, voit les oiseaux et vise. Mais les cygnes disparaissent et une jeune femme portant une couronne sur la tête apparaît dans les ruines. Elle dit à Siegfried qu'elle est le cygne qu'il voulait tuer. Elle s'appelle Odette, fille d'une bonne fée et d'un chevalier qui a trahi son amour pour une autre femme, provoquant ainsi la mort de sa mère. Son grand-père fut si triste qu'il se retira seul dans les bois et pleura tant de larmes que le lac se forma. Elle explique que ce n'est qu'en portant la couronne qu'elle peut éviter les pièges tendus par sa méchante belle-mère. Le jour, Odette est un cygne, et la nuit un être humain. Le Prince jette son arme. Avec une confiance croissante, un groupe de filles, les amies d'Odette, l'entourent. Siegfried tombe amoureux du cygne vierge et jure de lui être fidèle. Odette le prévient que s'il rompt son serment, il devra le payer de sa vie. A ce moment, l'aube commence à se lever. Les filles disparaissent. Une volée de cygnes s'éloigne à la nage à travers le lac, suivie par une chouette géante menaçante.
    Act II. Click to activate the English subtitles for the presentation (47:28–49:07)
    No.10 Scène – Moderato (47:28)
    No.11 Scène – Allegro moderato – Allegro viva, L’istesso tempo (50:08)
    No.12 Scène – Allegro – Moderato assai, quasi andante (54:54)
    No.13 Danses des Cygnes/Swans
    I.Tempo di valse (58:20)
    II.Solo Odette – Moderato assai – Molto più mosso (1:00:44)
    III.Danse des Cygnes – Tempo di valse (1:02:17)
    IV.Allegro moderato (1:04:03)
    V.Pas d’action : Odette et le Prince – Andante – Andante non troppo – Allegro (1:05:21)
    VI.Tout le monde/Everybody danse – Tempo di valse (1:11:57)
    VII.Coda – Allegro viva (1:13:26)
    No.14 Scène – Moderato (1:15:03)

    Acte III. Au bal donné par la Princesse Souveraine. Les derniers préparatifs sont en cours. L'hôtesse apparaît avec son fils et les invités commencent à arriver. Le bal commence. La mère de Siegfried dit à son fils de choisir une épouse parmi les filles présentes. Siegfried, cependant, ne pense qu'à Odette. Barbe Rouge, le génie maléfique, apparaît, se mélangeant à la noblesse et présentant sa fille Odile, qui cherche tout le monde comme Odette, Siegfried est trompé. Il danse avec elle, la croyant Odette, lui baise la main, la proclamant son épouse. On entend le cri triomphal de la chouette. Barbe Rouge jette son déguisement. Un vent violent ouvre les fenêtres ; un cygne portant une couronne passe. Siegfried reconnaît la ruse -. Il s'enfuit du château, à la recherche de son véritable amour.
    Act III. Click to activate the English subtitles for the presentation (1:17:37–1:18:45)
    No.15 Allegro giusto (1:17:37)
    No.16 Danses du corps de ballet et des nains/dwarves – Moderato assai – Allegro viva (1:20:00)
    No.17 Scène : L'entrée des invités et la valse/guests enter and waltz
    Allegro – Tempo di valse (1:22:30)
    No.18 Scène – Allegro – Allegro giusto (1:30:00)
    No.19 Pas de six
    Intrada – Moderato assai (1:31:35)
    Variation I – Allegro (1:34:00)
    Variation II – Andante con moto (1:35:35)
    Variation III – Moderato (1:38:50)
    Variation IV – Allegro (1:39:52)
    Variation V – Moderato – Allegro semplice – Allegro molto (1:40:46)
    Coda – Allegro molto (1:42:06)

    Appendice/Appendix I : Pas de deux
    Introduction – Moderato – Andante (1:43:47)
    Variation I – Allegro moderato (1:48:01)
    Variation II – Allegro (1:48:44)
    Coda – Allegro molto vivace (1:49:34)
    No.20 Danse hongroise/Hungarian dance : Czardas
    Moderato assai – Allegro moderato – vivace (1:52:04)
    Appendice II : Danse russe/Russian dance
    Moderato – Andante semplice – Allegro viva – Presto (1:54:28)
    No.21 Danse espagnol/Spanish dance – Allegro non troppo – Tempo di bolero (1:59:08)
    No.22 Danse napolitaine/Neapolitan dance – Allegro moderato – Andantino quasi moderato – Presto (2:01:34)
    No.23 Mazurka – Tempo di mazurka (2:03:28)
    No.24 Scène – Allegro – Valse – Allegro viva (2:07:13)

    Acte IV. Au bord du lac. Les amis d'Odette attendent son arrivée ; pour passer le temps, ils donnent une leçon aux petits cygnes. Au retour. Odette révèle la trahison de Siegfried à ses amis. Un orage se prépare. Malgré le danger qui la guette, Odette attend son amant, qui apparaît bientôt au lac, Siegfried la supplie de lui pardonner, ce qu'elle lui accorde, pensant que cela ne peut pas changer son destin. Elle se libère de son étreinte. Siegfried tente en vain de la tenir, lui faisant ainsi tomber la couronne de la tête. La chouette s'envole pour s'emparer du charme protecteur d'Odette. La tempête atteint son paroxysme ; les eaux du lac se déversent sur le rivage et engloutissent Odette et Siegfried. Puis la tempête s'apaise. La lune brille et illumine le lac, à nouveau calme, sur lequel nage une volée de cygnes. (texte du livret original)
    Act IV. Click to activate the English subtitles for the presentation (2:10:39–2:11:59)
    No.25 Entr’acte – Moderato (2:10:39)
    No.26 Scène – Allegro non troppo (2:12:33)
    No.27 Danses de petits cygnes/Dance of the Little Swans – Moderato (2:14:50)
    No.28 Scène – Allegro agitato – Allegro vivace (2:19:11)
    No.29 Scène Finale – Andante – Allegro agitato – Alla breve
    Moderato e maestoso – Moderato (2:22:09)

    Soloists
    Violin : Mikhail Chernyakhovsky
    Cello : Victor Simon
    Harp : Olga Erdeli
    Trumpet : Suren Gevorkian
    URSS RTV Large Symphony Orchestra
    Gennady Rozhdestvensky
    Recorded in 1969, at Moscow

    La particularité de cet enregistrement : Le Lac des Cygnes, créé en 1877, est non seulement l'une des œuvres les plus célèbres de Tchaïkovski, mais il est aussi l'incarnation même du ballet romantique et l'une des pièces de répertoire les plus populaires des compagnies de ballet du monde entier. En même temps, c'est l'un des ballets les moins connus : immédiatement après la mort de Tchaïkovski, à partir des répétitions au Théâtre Mariinsky de Saint-Pétersbourg en 1894, la tradition a commencé à changer la séquence des scènes, en omettant des parties de la musique, en en ajoutant d'autres, et en changeant des parties de l'intrigue et certains des personnages. C'est d'autant plus regrettable que l'intrigue et sa réalisation ont été initiées par Tchaïkovski lui-même.

    Il y a plusieurs hypothèses quant à l'origine du livret qui sont simplement attribuables aux réminiscences de Nikolaï Kachkine, un ami du compositeur, et de son frère, Modeste Tchaïkovski. Elles varient entre le directeur du Théâtre impérial russe Vladimir Begichev, danseur et soliste au théâtre Bolchoï de Moscou Vassily Heltser, et Julius Wenzel Reisiger, maître de ballet au Bolchoï, dont la chorégraphie est la version utilisée pour la première du Lac des cygnes le 4 mars 1877.

    Ce n'est qu'en 1958, lorsque les œuvres complètes de Tchaïkovski ont été publiées dans une édition académique, que le Lac des cygnes a été rendu de nouveau accessible au public dans sa forme originale. Ce fut toute une sensation lorsque Gennady Rozhdestvensky a enregistré la partition originale (y compris les deux numéros composés plus tard par Tchaïkovski, le pas de deux et la danse russe pour le troisième acte).

    Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky PLAYLIST (reference recordings) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyHjbijJb6Y&index=7&list=PL3UZpQL9LIxMf4wYhD_ikxVVtRtYf-Azi&t=4229s

  2. Roberto Junior says:

    Eternamente grato!

  3. aaron johns says:

    I love this recording. – Ansermet made one (of the older variation) that you might like … and the suite by Fricsay, and a Lanchbery recording …

  4. Александр Измайлов says:

    Виконання дуже пристойне. Але, це, я так розумію, концертна версія, бо деякі темпи швидкіші, ніж у балетній виставі. А ще, соромно казати, вперше почув кілька тем, яких у балеті досі не чув.

  5. BytomGirl says:

    I am listening now, I have a hard time picking my favorite ballet, between Swan Lake, La Bayadere and Giselle but Swan Lake was the first ballet I saw live when I was 5 years old and I was hooked on ballet. Judging by the lenght of it, it includes the so called  "sad Prince Siegfried solo" which I love and which is so often now excluded and one thing I will never understand is why the Waltz of the six Princesses is played so rarely. I watched many versions of the ballet, French of Nureyev (my least favorite), Russian of Grogorovich at Bolshoi and Mariinsky (don;t remember the choreographer, was that original Petipa/Ivanov?- the happy version) , from Vienna State ballet   and others. Different endings, the original where Odette and Siegfriend  die together and their souls are seen leaving into heaven, the tragic one where Odetter dies alone and Siegfried is left alone to grieve forever, the happy ending with the fight of Siegfried and Rothbart with Siegfried winning and uniting with Odette and even one where King is a bad genie in love with Odette and is tormented by it and dies at the end at the feet of his son Siegfried (Vladimir Vasiliev version).  I am listening and see all the steps of my favorite choreography of Grigorovivch  that included sad solo, most productions don't include it anymore (how sad) and music has been changed depending on the ending but I think the tragic ending is what it should be as it was meant to be such. In Grigorovich version Odette dies and Siegfried live to grieve forever and well played role will make me cry at the end with it's expression. Wonderful recording by the way.. I am now to the music from Black PDD and violin is played beautifully. Wow, Siegfried's variation in this PDD is so fast. I assume it was the original tempo? I am used to it being slower

  6. BytomGirl says:

    One thing I am puzzled about this recording.. the Black Swan PDD comes here so early in the ballet, judging by the music before Siegfried meets Odette and intwined with the music of Siegfried's birthday celebration.  Can you explain that to me?

  7. BytomGirl says:

    I finished  listening and the ending is different than the one I m used to in Bolshoi Grigorovivh version which ends with the same sad music it began as Siegfried stayed alone, grieving.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WZgmFw3n3Y

  8. 엄정환 says:

    차이코프스키의 다른 발레 곡보다 더 서정적이고 드라마틱해서 백조의 호수를 가장 좋아합니다. 특히 갠나디 로주데스벤스키의 연주는 시원시원해서 발레 공연 없이 별도의 연주곡으로 들어도 훌륭합니다. 백조의 호수 연주 중에서도 탁월한 명반. 단 하나의 흠은 절판되어 구하기 어렵다는 것. 빨리 재발매 되기를…

  9. Susana Marado says:

    💃

  10. nopuedeserestoyflipando says:

    Unfortunately, I cannot find it in spotify

  11. Willet Weeks says:

    I must admit that I have limited affection for ballet as an art form, yet I have deep admiration and affection for Tchaikovsky's amazing scores, which contain some of his most sophisticated and emotionally eloquent music. This recording, by Soviet musicians who had the tradition in their blood and lived in an uncompromisingly Russian sound world, under the great and much missed Rozhdestvensky, has been a touchstone since I discovered it in the bins at Tower Records. For my personal taste (ballet lovers will perhaps feel differently) many of the genre pieces seem tedious and the additional material included here worth no more than a passing listen. But many others are feats compositional virtuosity as complete in their musical and emotional impact as anything by Chopin or Schumann. And the great set-piece sequences are overwhelming, almost operatic. As with composers like, say, Bizet (think of the Symphony in C), the easy-listening tunefulness is underpinned by immense sophistication and unexpected depth — you cannot go for more than any 5 minutes in this score without feeling the undertow of anxiety and impending doom below the cuteness and the charm: "They don't seem to believe in their happiness", as Verlaine says of another set of courtiers. The cumulative effect is almost Wagnerian — listening again here left me as emotionally drained as I am at the conclusion of many of the greatest operas. Thanks immensely for the posting.

  12. Paul Jones says:

    I love it

  13. BytomGirl says:

    Wow, Siegfried's variation in Black Swan PDD, the Odile's 32 turn variation, the Jester variation and Polonaise are so fast, sounds like original score, a bit too fast for me I think, especially polonaise which is a slow, regal dance of Polish courts. My favorite is Andante Sostenuto which sometimes is called, Prince's Monologue or Sad Solo and rarely played Waltz of 6 Princesses. Here is Andante (Monologue danced by my favorite dancer 
     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PJK5tqhO30

  14. Lovey Dovey Doo says:

    I have always liked this performance, even though I'm not big on Tchaikovsky anymore.

  15. zimo zino says:

    For beautiful lovers..❤..

  16. yang lin says:

    The introduction is so beautiful.

  17. Barney says:

    Reference recording indeed, Rozhdestvensky knows how to electrify.

  18. Barney says:

    I've complained for 40 years about some composers who repeat things twice, yet, with Tchaikovsky it works. Such a great composer.

  19. Tomas Garza says:

    Thank You. One of my two (or three) favourite versions not available.

  20. 류순열 says:

    아름다운 연주곡 잘 들었읍니다~감사합니다~🎵🎻

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