Posted 13 July 2003 - 11:45 AM
It might be worth mentioning the provenance of this music, though many at this site will know it already. When Sobeschanskaya took over Odette from Karpakova after the Moscow premiere, she wanted a better pas de deux than Reisiger had provided her predecessor. So she went off to St Petersburg to canvas Petipa, who obliged with a pas de deux to Minkus music. When she returned, Tchaikovsky refused to permit the interpolation, and wrote new music over the original Minkus rhythms. One might call this a palimpsest after the recycled papyrus manuscripts in the ancient world, where the original script, though officially scraped off, still glimmers behind the text that has been superimposed on it. You can hear the Minkus connection most clearly in the male variation, which is very like the G major waltz attached to the Don Quixote pas de deux (actually a pas de quatre) in the original Moscow version of Petipa's ballet.