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Pick a composer for Cinderella


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#1 ronny

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 04:32 PM

If we could go back in time... and if you were the one who was in charge of the decision, who would you pick to write the music for Cinderella?

Sergei Prokofiev is a valid choice of course.

One composer for the ballroom scene and maybe someone else for the rest of it. Or just one composer for the whole thing. One composer or more, any way you want to do it.

Who would you pick to write the music for Cinderella?

#2 Hans

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 07:19 PM

I read in Petipa's memoirs that he choreographed a successful Cinderella; I assume it was the one featuring Pierina Legnani. I'd like to see that one, no matter who the composer was!

Ideally, I would of course choose Tchaikovsky, but I'd be equally happy with Glazunov or Delibes. I'd find Minkus and Drigo most suitable as well.

Did Strauss indeed write a ballet version of "Cinderella?" Has anyone here heard it, and has it been choreographed to?

#3 Mel Johnson

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 07:57 PM

Strauss started a Cinderella ballet "Aschenbrödel", but never finished it. Bayer ("Die Puppenfee") managed to make a piano score from sketches that were made before Strauss' death in 1899, and you can sort of make out the orchestration from the piano score. There is a version of this work in the repertoire of the Cuban National Ballet.

Incidentally, the Petipa version had music by the forgotten Boris Schell.

#4 Hans

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 08:02 PM

Didn't Tchaikovsky start a Cinderella ballet but never finish it? Or am I thinking of Romeo and Juliet, which turned into the fantasy overture?

Mel, do you know if the Schell music survives and/or whether the ballet was notated?

#5 doug

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 09:12 PM

To my knowledge, Petipa's Cinderella was not notated. At least, it is not part of the Sergeev Collection at Harvard. Didn't Legnani introduce the 32 fouettes in Cinderella in 1894?

#6 Mel Johnson

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Posted 16 August 2003 - 01:26 AM

Hans, yes, Tchaikovsky started out to sketch out music for a Cinderella ballet, but it never came to pass, so he dipped into the melodic material for dances in Beauty.

And Doug, I don't know of any survival score of the Petipa version of the tale. It was the ballet that introduced the 32 fouettés to Russia, but whether it's the first place she did them, I don't know, but I kind of doubt it. After all, she could have done them in La Gioconda - the galop in the Dance of the Hours is good fouetté music. Sort of a stopwatch gone crazy! :)

#7 R S Edgecombe

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Posted 16 August 2003 - 05:09 AM

Ronny, when I read Ivor Guest's Romantic Ballet in England, I was quite excited to discover that Fernando Sor had written music for the Cendrillon that Albert mounted for Mercandotti in the 1820s, since Sor is no slouch when it comes to composing. But it turned out to be a typical ballet score pre 1840--which is to say, a compilation of bits and pieces and airs parlants, with some Sorian connective tissue here and there. The same disappointment followed my discovery that Herold had written a Sleeping Beauty, for I am a HUGE admirer of Zampa, Le Pre aux clercs and Le Muletier. The score of Ashton's Fille mal gardee is also a salmagundi, but it's bearable because Herold is close enough in style to his borrowings from Rossini and Martini and Haydn, and the lurid gloss of Lanchbery's orchestration helps integrate even the resistant Hertel music. Not so the Kirov DQ and Corsaire, where one lurches from 1869 to circa 1935 and back again in a gut-wrenching way.

#8 Mel Johnson

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Posted 16 August 2003 - 05:22 AM

As long as Fille has been mentioned, Rodney, I have a persistent question that bothers me a little from time to time. I can find all the "Fanny Elssler pas de deux" in Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore except for Colas' variation. Any idea where that came from?

#9 Alexandra

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Posted 16 August 2003 - 07:21 AM

For an article on Strauss's Cinderella, read the Viennese-American critic George Jackson on:

Cinderella and the Waltz King

#10 R S Edgecombe

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Posted 16 August 2003 - 09:07 AM

Yes, Mel. It is the polka-cabaletta for the duet "Quanto amore" (I think it's number 16 in the score). Just as Drigo turned the concertante polka of the Act I pas de deux of Lac into a blaring marche for the male dancer in the so-called Black Swan, so Lanchbery did the same for Colas. In Donizetti the effect is light and fleet, but in Lanchbery it sounds as if my Gwendolen is thundering across the stage! He also dotted the anacrusis (which in Donizetti is even-valued) to make it sound more military.

#11 Mel Johnson

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Posted 16 August 2003 - 09:41 AM

Thanks, Rodney, I'll listen and read the score this afternoon. Most of my listening is confined to after work when both my ears and eyes are tired. :yawn:

#12 Watermill

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 07:01 AM

For Act One: stick with Rossini. The bright, light comic touch is perfect.

For Act Two: How about Debussy? Magic in the air...along with the dancers!

Act Three: Mussogorsky!? Dark undertones... submerged themes...bold finish!

#13 Hans

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 07:32 AM

Thank you for the link, Alexandra--most informative :).

#14 Mary J

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 07:06 AM

Saint Saens? Power and delicacy.

#15 Manhattnik

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 12:13 PM

J.S. Bach.

Or John Cage.

I can't decide.


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