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#16 R S Edgecombe

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 03:14 AM

PS I forgot to mention, apropos of your amusing onomastic fantasy, Mel, that Aloysius is the name of Sebastian's teddy bear in Brideshead Revisited. I used to pronounce it as spelled, until a friend of mine pointed out that it is spoken as RG has transliterated it, probably because the use of the English name is connected with the Polish saint, and the Poles must pr it in much the same way as the Russians. And when it comes to nominal doublets, I can tell you that I once taught an Elizabeth-Isabel!

#17 Mel Johnson

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 04:29 AM

I can't speak for rg, but I've just been a sort of collector of anecdotes from my old teachers, some of whom went back into "the day" of the ballet Renaissance in western Europe and even earlier, to pre-Revolutionary Russia. When I can find something in a scholarly writing, as Wiley, I can often put it together with the stories, and Walter de la Mare-like, say, "Ah, so that is what THAT meant." So, I've really unconsciously been a bit of a ballet folklorist, and as with all folklore, often the tale (which at times seemed a tall one) is backed up by actual documentable history.

And I know exactly what you mean about names - I have a relative who is a Nancy Ann. She's all ready for her part in "The Seven Deadly Sins" - Anna Anna. She is sort of a "church lady" and her colleagues would take the vapours if they realized that.

#18 Hans

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 07:46 AM

And my prima ballerina dances her variation to a particularly nauseating slow gavotte for harp solo (written by somebody like Lincke or Krein), which begins, after some preliminary positioning into epaule with a sous-sus, entrechat huit and attitude derriere.


RS...what company is on this tape? And who is the ballerina? I have the same tape Silvy does: with Makhalina and Zelensky, and Makhalina does entrechat-six, jeté du coté, piqué forward into attitude derriere croisé. I am just wondering because I have never seen a female dancer perform entrechat-huit in my life and would dearly love to see it done!

Mel, I could swear I've seen Minkus' given name written as "Léon." Is that just inaccurate?

#19 Jean-Luc

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 07:47 AM

Well, thank you to everybody for these interesting answers!

All my knowledge (and more!!!) about these variations have been posted...

But, I'm wondering if we can be absolutely sure about the composers (except Tcherepine, that's obvious). The first variation (with developpé seconde at the beginning) is by Pugni, Drigo or Minkus??? I don't know exactly. This kind of music let me think is probably Pugni, but I'm not sure!!

One thing I can tell is this variation appears on a Vaganova's Little Humpbacked Horse Russian TV production. This variation is danced by a kind of a "Sea-Fairy"...(very short part in the ballet). But instead of developpé, fouettés, attitude (in the the third section of the variation) as we can see in Paquita, the choreography is piqué, penché-arabesque, retiré.

I think it's very difficult to get a precise tracability of these things. Ballet history is so complicated!

As nobody knows the true composer of the female variation from Le Corsaire... And what is the true choreography? Dryad Queen from DQ? Gamzatti from Bayadere? Or something else, like the Vinogradov's or Sergueyev's Corsaire full lenght productions??

Edited by Jean-Luc, 17 August 2003 - 07:55 AM.


#20 R S Edgecombe

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 08:40 AM

Hans, your tape and my tape are one and the same. I must have miscounted the beats of the entrechat. I could never manage more than a quatre, so anything more awes me into blurry wonderment. However, am I wrong in thinking that Nerina once did 32 entrechats huit in the Black Swan coda to cock a snook at Nureyev? Were they in fact sixes?

Mel, I do hope you will write your memoirs soon and gather all this priceless information in compact form. I know it's scattered throughout this site, but it would be nice to have it in a vade mecum.

Jean-Luc, I am about 80% sure that the first variation in the Kirov Paquita isn't by Pugni, but we could be speaking about different pieces of music. There is a quite distinctive naievete about P's music, which is all the more remarkable because it was wholly affected. He prob knew more about the theory of music than M and Drigo combined.

I'm afraid, RG, that the Kirov tape doesn't match up at all with your list. The only thing I am reasonably certain of is that your variation 8 (the Vazyem) is the Kirov 5 (strange that Vazyem, who apparently didn't jump well, should have had to start her variation with jetes). I am also once again undecided about the Kirov 1--its melodic deportment is slightly more Drigovian than Minkusoid, but those acciaccatura crockets are so distinctively M that I really don't know which way to lean. If it turns out that Bolshoi 1 and Kirov 1 are identical, then my mind will be made up for me--but how to establish this??? And I must say that, watching the Kirov 4 again in the knowledge that Fokine wrote it, I felt a mild degree of indignation. How could the choreographer who spurned the old master have helped himself so liberally to Candite and Miettes qui tombent. The dance read quite differently when I didn't know the author, or rather, when I believed him to be doing homage.

Now for the pas de trois. Thank you VERY much for the Deldevez information. The 4/4 is especially interesting because there is nothing else quite like it in Minkus (read the Minkus that I know!), but there are several parallels in Fr ballet music, esp. Auber--cf the pas de quatre in Les Rendezvous and also the 8th item in Act I, Scene 1 of Marco Spada that I marked "currente calamo--flute" in some notes I attached to the record sleeve. However, I couldn't confirm the parallels because I no longer have the means to play my vinyls. The dates for both of these Aub pieces (1850 and 1856) suggest the influence flowing from D to A, though one should also bear in mind the earlier influence on both of the female var from Burgmueller's Peasant p de d. As to Del's valse in A major--on Friday I tried to explain to myself why the Queen of Dryads valse doesn't seem echt Minkus, and for a while considered the fact that its first bar is harmonized on the dominant. (I don't have the music, but I guessed V4/3 after the anacrusis, which sounded right-ish, and Gwendolen, sitting on top of the piano and looking down on me, narrowed her eyes in assent!) Then I remembered this valse from the pas de trois, and rejected those particular grounds, though I think others remain. Now that I know it's D, I might want to reinstate the 1st bar on the dominant reasoning. However, the valse is SO like the coda of the Enchanted G scene in DQ that one must assume that M was very fond of this variation, and used it as a template for some of his own compositions.

And before I go, could I ask you please to explain why, in a response to a post by Solor in another thread you called this pas de trois the "golden"? Thank you SO much, once again.

#21 Mel Johnson

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 08:51 AM

Mel, I could swear I've seen Minkus' given name written as "Léon."  Is that just inaccurate?

Both the French and the Russians of the 19th century were very big at renaming non-homeboys with local names. The French, as usual despising the "Boche", would use some French name starting with the same initial as a German name, and the Russians often fell back on "Feodor" if there were no Russian equivalent for the name, especially in the patronymic. Minkus was an Austrian, and lived to survive World War I! In Russia, his name was frequently rendered simply as "L. Minkus"

#22 R S Edgecombe

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 12:44 PM

It does seem a bit perverse, though, to have called him Leon when Louis was there for the taking. I suspect it was a printer's error that got engraved--in metal and then in stone. In my Dance Books reprint of the Stellowsky DQ, LM is Gallicized as L. Mincous on the title page, which also shows that dryads carried palm branches (or highly elongated and bedraggled feathers!!) in their hands. How fond Petipa was of this sort of prop--parrots in B and garlands in SB and, in DQ, a dimanche des rameaux in the very presence of Amor! Mel's Aunt Nancy-Anne would NOT approve! On the first page of the score, the C of Mincous gives way to a K very like a kappa and the Cyrillic equivalent, whatever it's called.

#23 Paul Parish

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 03:04 PM

To pick up on a secondary thread, in case you're interested, Rodney, I can tell you a bit about the Fokine ballet from "Russlan and Ludmila." It's been presented in San Francisco. In fact, a few years ago, the SF Opera presented the whole fabulous opera "Russlan and Lyudmila"-- one of the great opera-house experiences of my life. For SFO had collaborated with Gergeyev and the Maryinsky and had reproduced from the original designs Bakst's production, whose sets and costumes Diaghilev brought to Paris -- in the finale, there was the costume that Nijinsky wore in "Le Festin" on a splendid dancer who proceeded to do the Lezghinka, with his arm in front of his nose.

The last act ends with a ballet, but there's a big one earlier, which as Mel noted is all made up of women. There are reasons inside the very fantastical, Ariostoesque opera why it's all women-- the scene is a seduction-vision, prepared by a sorceress. (The dancers are like the shades -- none of these women really exist). The sorceress, as I remember, is trying to remove one of the main characters from the competition -- to get Lyudmila's Arabian suitor to forget his quest and go back to Arabia. So this Armide-like witch (who's offered him hospitality at her castle) conjures up images of his own harem back in Arabia, who do a kind of Arabian dance very much addressed to the singer-prince..... Each of the women is distinctive, he knows each of them already -- or rather he THINKS he does, he doesn't know they're phantoms manipulated by a sorceress -- and each makes her own personal appeal to him. They should be in harem pants, but usually aren't when the ballet is presented by itself (I've seen it once done by the SFBallet school). Notice the Arabian plastique. In the opera, the singer is a contralto playing a man -- who sings a gorgeous nostalgic aria as s/he gradually falls asleep, which leads directly into the ballet -- a fantastic transition.

The whole opera is full of spectacular coups de theatre -- there's a wizard who's in love with Lyudmila who sets all the action in motion, and who when he's really worked up flies around in the air on a wire, with a 10-foot-long white beard following him like the tail of a kite. The music is delightful in the extreme -- rather like Rossini, even more like Mozart -- infectious, witty, very changeable, full of colors and moods....

#24 Mel Johnson

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 06:25 PM

And for those interested in the political/historical wings of things, in 1842, when R&L was first presented, there was another wonderful war between the Russians and the Turks. The Sultan of Constantinople, Sulieman the somethingorotherth, made the remarkable statement, "If I should win this war, who would rule Russia? I don't want it!"

#25 rg

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 06:54 PM

so many thoughts presented here, so little time, overall, to follow through, esp. as aging takes away one's hoped for sharpness.
but to try to get to a few points:
i hope it didn't seem as if i was bungling the spelling/naming of dear ole maestro minkus. i used my most primitive cyrillic transliteration to indicate the way the text of the russian book on pakhita was written, if i'd had to refer to minkus in my own work i'd use what the International Encyc. of Dance gives: Le[acute]on Minkus, not saying this work is the last word, just the 'standard' one i tend to use when i need to 'nail' something down.
re: where i get my info. overall. in the case of this paquita list, it was from the recent book from russia, i just copied the list as given, and prob. didn't offer sufficient apologies for not being conversant enough w/ musical notation, russian, and choreographic notation to be more specific for all of the readers of this thread who really know their variations and videos backwards and forwards.
re: my info. otherwise, i get if from whatever most strikes me as having fed my curiosity on a given subject over the years.
for example, press kits can be of some use. the one provided by ABT for the version of DonQ staged by vasiliev in 1991 (for jane hermann's ABT) included a fascinating list of provenances:
tho' the music credit overall was given to Ludwig Minkus (now i'm reading from the kit) the following musical indications also were given:
Mercedes' Dance, Act II, Valery Zhelobinsky
Dryad Fairy's Vari. Act II, Anton Simon (my own note to myself in the kit indicates that is is the vari. i associate w/ Sizova in the 'graduation' perf. of the pas de deux from "Le Corsaire" w/ R.Nureyev, i.e. that w/ the huge grand jete de cote details)
Kitri's Variation in Act II (given in another source work i have, from russia of 'classical variations' [see below] as choreographed by Gorsky), by R.Drigo
Espada's Variation in Act III by Rheinhold Gliere
Mercedes' Variation, Act III, Anton Simon
March music, Act III, Yuly Greber,
Fandango, Act III, Eduard Napranik
the production's overall staging, very much in the Moscow tradtion, was by Vasiliev with special choreographic credit given to Kasyan Goliezovsky for 'the gypsy dance'.
regarding my ref. the Pas de Trois from Paquita, as Petipa's Golden Pas de Trois, if mem. serves i picked that up from roslavleva. (tho' i could be misremembering.)
to clarify, i did not mean to present the variation list offered earlier from the recent book on Paquita as jibing necessarily with the current kirov staging, or with the tapes available w/ the kirov. quite right, the cherepnine is nowhere to be seen in the book's list and i can't tell you if the author/editor of the book explains what his precise sources are and why he finds them definitive. the perf. on tape and the one most referred to in this thread is the vinogradov version. the previous one dudinskaya was somewhat different, i think, and the one dolgushin did for the maly th. was still different from these other two leningrad versions.

the booklets i have under the rubric: Klassicheskoe nasledie: variatzii iz baletov Russkikh khoreografov also has music and choreographic breakdowns, it is a companion publication to the following tape at the NYPub.Lib.for the Perf. Arts.

Classical heritage: Thirty variations from ballets by Russian choreographers
1990. 60 min. : sd. color
Co-produced by Soyuzteatr and Sintez. Chief producer: A. Murtazin. Producer/writer: F. Slidovker. Camera: A. Tafel. In Russian with English subtitles.
Issued in conjunction with the Russian-language publication by Soyuzteatr entitled Klassicheskoe nasledie: variatzii iz baletov Russkikh khoreografov (see: *MGTM 90-9614)
SUMMARY: Compilation of variations performed in the studio to piano accompaniment, in practice clothes, as a choreographic record.
CONTENTS: Swan lake: Act II, Odette's variation. Chor: Ivanov. Danced by Tatyana Chernobrovkina. -- Swan lake: Act III, Odile's variation. Chor: Grigorovich. Danced by Galina Shlapina. -- Swan lake: Act III, Odile's variation. Chor: Petipa. Danced by Chernobrovkina. -- Swan lake: Act III, Siegfried's variation. Chor: K. Sergeyev. Danced by Vladimir Malakhov. -- Swan lake: Act III, Siegfried's variation. Chor: Grigorovich. Danced by Malakhov. -- Swan lake: Act I, Pas de trois, male variation. Chor: K. Sergeyev. Danced by Malakhov. -- The sleeping beauty: Act I, Aurora's variation. Chor: Petipa. Danced by Shlapina. -- The sleeping beauty: Prologue, Lilac Fairy's variation. Chor: F. Lopukhov. Danced by Tatyana Yatsenko. -- The sleeping beauty: Act III, Désiré's variation. Chor: Sergeyev. Danced by Malakhov. -- The sleeping beauty: Act III, Bluebird's variation. Chor: Petipa. Danced by Malakhov. -- The nutcracker: Act II, Princess Masha's variation. Chor: Vasily Vainonen. Danced by Ludmila Vasilyeva. -- The nutcracker: Act II, Prince's variation. Chor: Vainonen. Danced by Malakhov. -- The nutcracker: Act II, Marie's variation. Chor: Grigorovich. Danced by Tatyana Paliey. -- The nutcracker: Act II, Prince's variation. Chor: Grigorovich. Danced by Stanislav Isayev. -- Raymonda: Act I, Raymonda's variation with a scarf. Chor: Petipa. Danced by Shlapina. -- Raymonda: Act III, Raymonda's variation. Chor: Petipa. Danced by Susanna Avetisova. -- Chopiniana: Prelude. Chor: Fokin. Danced by Svetlana Tsoy. -- Chopiniana: [Woman's] mazurka. Chor: Fokin. Danced by Olga Ivanova. -- Chopiniana: Waltz. Chor: Fokin. Danced by Ivanova. -- Chopiniana: [Man's] mazurka. Chor: Fokin. Danced by Dmitry Zababurin. -- Don Quixote: Act IV, Kitri's variation. Chor: Petipa. Danced by Paliey. -- Don Quixote: Act IV, Basil's variation. Chor: A. Ermolaev, V. Vasilyev. Danced by Vadim Bondar. -- Don Quixote: Dream scene, Kitri's variation. Chor: A. Gorsky. Danced by Chernobrovkina. -- Don Quixote: Act IV, female variation. Chor: Gorsky. Danced by Liliy Musovarova. -- Coppélia: Act III, Swanilda's variation. Chor: Gorsky. Danced by Vasilyeva. -- La fille mal gardée: Act II, Lise's variation. Chor: Gorsky. Danced by Paliey. -- La fille mal gardée: [act unspecified], Colin's variation. Chor: Gorsky. Danced by Malakhov. -- Le corsaire: Act II, Slave's variation. Chor: V. Chabukiani. Danced by Ilgis Galimullin. -- La bayadère: Act II, Gamzatti's variation. Chor: Chabukiani. Danced by Vasilyeva. -- La bayadère: Act IV, Kingdom of the shades, Solor's variation. Chor: Chabukiani. Danced by Bondar.

now i've gone likely so far OT that everyone's gone to sleep, or to get the hook.

#26 Mel Johnson

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 07:06 PM

Now wait a minute, rg, and consider a suggestion: When faced with all that musique dansante, and all that Petipesque dancing, why consider the source?

It was all designed for enjoyment; why don't we all step back one pace, heave a great sigh of relief, and just enjoy?!

#27 Hans

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 07:57 PM

RS, I think Nerina must have done entrechat-six. A few of my teachers used to end class with 32 entrechats sixes, but I don't think even Nijinsky could have performed that many entrechats huits!

#28 doug

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 10:11 PM

Are you serious, Mel?! :flowers:

#29 R S Edgecombe

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 01:57 AM

RG, I hope you won't think me very Henry MacKenzie-ish when I tell you that I am typing this reply with tears in my eyes. I really can't explain them--gratitude to you, relief after years of uncertainty, joy at final eclaircissement. Oh my prophetic soul. I KNEW the Dryad queen var wasn't by Minkus, and, after spending the better part of a morning dissecting my wobbly reconstruction and conferring with Gwendolen all the while, I am at last vindicated. Now all I must do is find out about Anton Simon and all the other petits maitres you list for DQ. Perhaps the new Grove JUST might have one or two entries to meet my inquisitiveness. I was also convinced that Kitri's E flat variation owed something to Aurora's entree, and this clearly must be so if il Riccardo ottonato (no goldens for HIM, in my book!) wrote it.

THANK YOU!!!! (exclamation marks to the power of n recurring)

PS Does the Bolshoi do a Paquita that conforms to your list, and if so, is it on tape? I am bursting with curiosity, most especially with regard to the Petipa Sylfida. Does anything remain of this beyond the var listed there?

#30 R S Edgecombe

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 02:08 AM

PS and OOPS

I have just gone back to your entry to make notes, and see that Drigo wrote a variation for Kitri in Act TWO, not V. What variation is this? The waltz in G that serves as her entree is def by Minkus. Is there an insert I'm not familiar with? And I see that Gorsky did the chor for an Act IV variation--is that Act V or really Act IV, because she doesn't do one in the Kirov IV (I think). And, if it is Act V, does that mean the pas de cheval var we in the west attribute to Obokov is in fact by Gorsky? Really!!! Studying ballet history is like doing a white jigsaw puzzle!


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