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Swan Lake--cygnets in 1957 Plisetskaya film?


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#1 teachitwell

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 08:15 AM

I just finished watching the video of Swan Lake with Maya Plisetskaya that was filmed in 1957 at the Bolshoi. What we usually see as the cygnets (pas de quatre) in Act II was danced by 6 dancers with completely different choreography than what I have always known as the "traditional" pas de quatre. Can anyone enlighten me on this? Is this the version that was usually done by the Bolshoi? I appreciate any insight.

Also, can someone explain why the music for the "Black Swan Pas de Deux" is often not found on full length recordings of the ballet? I did have some luck a few years ago getting a recording that had the music in it's standard place, but it took some searching. I know this topic has been discussed in the past, but I would appreciate it being revisited. Thank-you.

#2 rg

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 09:39 AM

there have been a number of previous BT threads about the music from SWAN LAKE, including those pointing to recordings that include what is now-known as the Black Swan Pas de Deux, and that was written originally for Act 1, in 1877, in a slightly different version.
You need to find a recording of the Petipa/Ivanov version of the ballet, the 1895 'text,' to get what is nowadays traditionally known as the Black Swan PdD.

i don't t know that anyone has studied the planning for the film of SWAN LAKE w/ Plisetskaya but one might assume that this being the BOLSHOI ballet, which is widely translated into English as signifying the BIG ballet, that the producers aimed to make things bigger, and thus up-scaled the cynettes pas de quatre to a pas de six, and then in the process reworked the traditional choreography as they preferred.

more adept BT members should be able to direct you to previous threads about recordings of the music you seek.

#3 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 09:41 AM

I can't help you about the cygnets question, as I've never seen this film before-(but I'm pretty sure some of the soviet ballet experts here will)-but as to your Black Swan PDD question, I can only guess that you might have had access to a recording which contains the original Tchaikovsky's 1877 score, which didn't contain what we know now as the Black Swan PDD. This music was originally placed in Act I-( as the "Pas de deux for two Merry Makers", and not even the totality of it...just the Entree, Adagio, male variation and Coda...the female variation then and there was another tune: "Tempo di Valse", now almost unknown). The "original" Odile/Siegfried PDD music-(Miss Odile wasn't even a black swan back then)-was what we know now as the music of Balanchine's "Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux". The new changes took place in 1895, when Petipa, Ivanov and Drigo reworked the ballet, all with Tchaikovsky's brother approval. That's how the new Black Swan Pas de Deux was born...just as we know it nowadays. And again, some recordings might show the 77 score instead of the 95-(like the Dutoit).

Edited: rg...we were probably writing at the same time. My apologies for pointing again at what you had previously explained. :wink:

#4 Mel Johnson

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 11:48 AM

For the six swans version of the four swans and the three big swans version of the two big swans, see Alexander Gorsky's 1902 staging of the ballet, et seq.

#5 rg

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 06:08 PM

many thanks, Mel, i knew the trio of 'big swans' tradition went back rather far in 20th c. Russian ballet tradition, but hadn't realized that Gorsky also upped the cygnets' dance from a traditional quartet to a sextet.
his prod. however is usally dated 1901. did he make further revisions in '02?

#6 Mel Johnson

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 07:11 PM

You're right, I confused the 1901 Swan with the 1902 Don Q. Probably the 1920 Swan entered into my confusion as well. Incidentally, the Don Q was where Petipa said, "Will somebody tell that young feller I ain't dead yet?"


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