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Giselle: Different editions of the score

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#1 sejacko



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Posted 23 May 2009 - 10:13 AM

What are the most commonly used editions of the Giselle score used today? Although Minkus's 1884 interpolations have become standard (apart from the much-discussed Act I PDD), I understand that his actual orchestrations are only still used in Russia.

In these days of adherance to authenticity, the most obvious thing to do (short of reverting to the complete original Adam version and losing the Minkus interpolations), would be to use the 1884/Petipa version (the published piano reduction which I believe was the basis for most subsequent editions anyway) as a starting point, and then restore Adam's original orchestrations as far as is possible within that structure. Perhaps this is what we get?

(Burgmüller's Act 1 Peasants' PDD obviously has to be considered part of the original score since it formed part of the original production, although I personally think it's musically inferior to Adam's more refined music, even in various reorchestated editions).

Apart from the original Adam score (on Bonygne's Decca CDs), I'm familiar with these editions:

Henri Büsser edition (ROH CD cond. Ermler)
Joseph Horovitz (ROH/Opus Arte DVD cond. Gruzin)

I've long been tempted to buy Karajan's 1962 Decca recording with the Vienna Philharmonic, but when I listened to the sample tracks on Amazon, I noticed the rather heavy orchestrations used. It seems very far removed from the original, and even from the more familiar Büsser edition. The rich strings of the Vienna Philharmonic sound positively Mantovaniesque in places. I'm still tempted to get it merely as a curiosity. Does anyone know which version this is?

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