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act III pdd variations


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#1 Guest_leslie_*

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Posted 03 July 2001 - 02:05 PM

Just wondering...
why are there so many different pdd variations in act III? I've heard 2 different men's variations and the same goes for the women. And then there is the tch. pdd that was thrown out and now we have the standard music we all know today. But it does confuse me as to how all of this different music came about. What was the original and how did the other variations come into play?

#2 Mel Johnson

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Posted 03 July 2001 - 09:47 PM

That's a rather tricky question! If you mean the 1877 version, then that's one thing. If you mean the 1895 version edited by Drigo, then it's another. There is a LOT of music that is in the former that is not in the latter, and the proliferation of variations may have something to do with the availability of recordings of the 1877 version (they are, indeed, in the majority). Choreographers can hear good music for dancing, and it's hard to get them reined in from using it for something. That pas de six for the six foreign bridal candidates is hard to resist!

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 04 July 2001 - 02:36 PM

This would have been a far less difficult question 30 years ago. Since then, there have been so many versions, there's little left except the second act that hasn't been tampered with. There are probably at least a half-dozen variations for Odile, and men have often choreographed their own variations. (How could I complain, as this is merely keeping alive a venerable tradition :) )

Thanks for asking, Leslie -- and welcome to Ballet Alert :)

#4 MinkusPugni

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 03:31 AM

I actually much prefer the original Tchaikovsky variation for Odile. The music, although it is in a major key, seems much darker, stronger and more suited to the deep and complex personality of Odile. The Drigo variation does nothing for Odile's character - it seems more like something Odette would dance to. The Drigo variation is much too light and fluffy - completely the opposite to the slick Odile who, throughout the pas de deux, is trying to capture Siegfried's full attention. Dancing to the original variation, all eyes would be on Odile as it is such a perculiar variation for the traditional "girl" but the Drigo version it would be more like "Didn't I already see Odette do this one in Act II?"

However, I do much prefer Drigo's orchestration of the male variation (although I don't think it should be cut at all - which means leaving in the coda). I believe the original score shouldn't have been tampered with as much. I also believe Drigo's additions to both of the pas de deuxs are inappropriate. In the white pas de deux, not the reprise of the B theme, but the runs of the violin. The Black Swan Pas de Deux could have ended simply with the two pizzicato notes that preceed the part that "needed" to be cut, or infact be left as was.

#5 Hans

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 11:51 AM

Try dancing Siegfried's Act III variation and then dancing to a coda and then dancing the coda for the pas de deux! I'd just as soon leave it out. :crying:

#6 Mel Johnson

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 01:35 PM

And what Drigo variation?

Odile's variation is by Tchaikovsky, orchestrated by Drigo. It's one of his piano pieces entitled "L'Espiègle" (The Mischievous Child).

#7 MinkusPugni

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 02:56 AM

Dancers should have that much stamina. It's not all that long and not all of it needs to be so technically challenging - the extended variation would leave some room for dancing (which alot of male variations leave out in their effort to show off one's technique).

Yes, Mel, I know that Odile's variation is Tchaikovsky's. I referred to it as "the Drigo variation" because Drigo orchestrated and put it there, not Tchaikovsky. No matter what it is entitled, as I stated before I believe that the original music for the variation sounds more "Odile".

Another question - why was Petipa unhappy with the original music for Odile's variation?

#8 Mel Johnson

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 04:32 AM

I believe that Petipa probably changed out the music for two principal reasons: One, the 1877 woman's variation is a waltz, and perhaps too recollective of the entrée. Two, the variation does not stop cleanly - it segues into the coda, so no obligatory pause for applause.

We have to be precise about how we refer to the musical content of the Tchaikovsky ballets, because for years, the Conventional Wisdom held that the additions to the 1877 score were by Drigo, instead of being arranged by him from Tchaikovsky piano selections. Recent scholarship, notably by Wiley, has straightened out once and for all what happened, and we should exercise very careful and precise language to keep the record straight.

#9 doug

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 06:32 AM

Thank you, Mel. I couldn't agree more. I also believe it best to refer to variations (as has been done here) by their music (or composer) rather than choreography (or choreographer). Most variations from the 19th century have been substantially, if not completely, rechoreographed.

#10 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 11:14 AM

I actually much prefer the original Tchaikovsky variation for Odile. .

HiMinkusPugni!
When you state "the original Tchaikovsky variation for Odile", do you refer to the "Tempo di valse" music? ( Now that i think about it i'm sure that i've heard it here and there in some produccions of Swan Lake, but i can't remember where and by who)
:dunno:

#11 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 02:41 PM

- why was Petipa unhappy with the original music for Odile's variation?

To tell the truth, i don't even know why did Petipa dumped the beautiful ORIGINAL III Act Odile/Siegfried PDD music, (now Tchaikovsky PDD) in favor of the I Act "Marry Makers PDD" one. Everytime i see TPDD, i can't help but think: "this is not what Tchaikovsky had in mind", or "this should be Odile and Siegfried dancing here", and so on. Furthermore,, I would LOVE to see a brave ( and probably unreverent to Petipa's vision ) production with the 1877 uncut full score,(at least on the III Act) even if Petipa has to be adapted. ( at the end, didn't he adapt Tchaikowsky himself...? )

:D

#12 Mel Johnson

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 09:37 PM

The first problem would be the "Three B's" problem. Bottom, boredom and bladder. An hour-long first act would probably not be a good way to start an evening. The second act wouldn't have the same problem, but the third act, with its extended pas de six for the fiancées would be longish, and the Danse Russe, with so much cadenza in the violin, would be a major chore to sit through. Combine that with the traditional weakness in the fourth act, and you've got a problem show. Reisinger probably had no preconceived notions about what he wanted. Tchaikovsky didn't even meet him until after the score was written. Actually, the Conventional Wisdom that the 1877 version was a total flop isn't really true. It stayed at the Bolshoi for three seasons, and was moderately successful. It's just that the 1895 version was so VERY successful that it knocked any memories of preceding productions out of everyone's mind. The "Tchaikovsky pas de deux" music wasn't even set to Tchaikovsky or Reisinger originally. There was supposed to be an interpolation of a pas de deux to music by Minkus with choreography by Petipa, and Tchaikovsky objected, saying that he wanted all the music in the ballet to be his, so he wrote the Act III pas de deux to fit the choreography for the Minkus numbers. Now, if we really want to look for "lost" ballet music, the Minkus would be the one to find!

#13 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 12:12 PM

Yes, Mel, i actually agree about the ballet being extremely long. It's just that the whole music is so beautiful that everytime i listen to it, i can't help but think about how would it be on stage. I guess i have a very "score-oriented" vision of choregraphy.
Anyways, back to SL. I've read some scholars where they state that "TPDD" had nothing to do with Tchaikovsky , mentioning the whole well known Sobeshchanskaya/Tchaikovsky/Petipa/Minkus ordeal, resulting in the now "TPDD" ( theories of T. merely re orchestrating the Minkus numbers). So, if in the march 4 , 1877 premiere with Karpakova the "TPDD" wasn't still in the ballet, (inserted later on april 26) and if it's known that the "Russian Dance" was composed specially for Karpakova, IS THERE ANY EVIDENCE OF HOW WAS THE ORIGINAL III ACT CONCEIVED? Oh, and again, what happened to the "Tempo di Valse" (2nd variation) of the "Merry Makers PDD" after 1895?
:D

#14 Mel Johnson

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 11:11 PM

I don't believe that the TPDD (thanks for the shorthand) is actually by Minkus, reorchestrated. Just the few bars of introduction have harmonies that Minkus, tuneful though he was, would ever have considered.

There are period reviews which describe the "Danse Russe" in some detail, which lead me to conclude that Siegfried and Benno engaged in a mime dialogue about how this woman looks just like the other one.

Nureyev made use of the original valse music in some of his stagings of the Black Swan pas de deux, and sometimes he used the 2/4 vivo from TPDD. In others, he used various variations from the pas de six.

#15 leonid17

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Posted 08 July 2007 - 12:46 AM

IS THERE ANY EVIDENCE OF HOW WAS THE ORIGINAL III ACT CONCEIVED?



Wiley in his "Tchaikovsky's Ballets" gives in translation of the scenario from the First Editions of their librettos which gives an outline of the dances but no clear indication of what music was used when. Elsewhere in the chapter on "Swan Lake", Wiley sketchily discusses the music for Act III.

As "Swan Lake" received three production in six years and by the fourth performance additions had been made. Notes in Tchaikovsky's holograph score differs in stage action to that which was published elsewhere.

There is no in depth record of what music was performed at the premiere and it has been assumed that Reisinger had generally made a number of cuts to Tchaikovsky's music.

Wiley states according to Stepan Ryabov the conductor at the Bolshoi, Sobeschenskaya went to St. Petersburg to get a new pas de deux from Minkus for Reisinger to create. Tchaikovsky objected and using the tempi of Minkus composed music to match the choreography of the new pdd which the ballerina wished to keep.

Mel is right to point out that the ballet was not such a failure from its beginnings as had been long believed. In fact "Swan Lake" at the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre survived in the repertoire almost twice as long as most ballets of that time.

It would be interesting at least, to think there is more information on the first performance of "Swan Lake" to be discovered.

ED: For clarification,


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