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Gamzatti's variation (from "Bayadere")


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#1 silvy

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Posted 17 February 2003 - 05:41 AM

I am puzzled about the music of Gamzatti's variation from Bayadere. Is it really from Minkus? Does it really belong to Bayadere, of does it belong to another ballet? Because I have seen all of the following:

1) the variation is danced as from "Don Quixote" (by Nina Ananiashvili in a video called "The magic of Bolshoi ballet" in an Asaf Messerer gala around 1980)

2) I saw it danced as the Corsaire's female variation at a recent performance of Julio Bocca's Ballet Argentini which I recently attended, in which Julio Bocca danced Conrad, Hernan Piquin danced Ali and Maria Ricetto from ABT danced Medora. And, as far as I know, in Corsaire's score there are various composers EXCEPT Minkus.

3) the variation is danced as Gamzatti in:
- Paris Opera ballet video (Elisabeth Platel dances Gamzatti)
- Royal Ballet (Darcey Bussell as Gamzatti)
- Kirov Ballet (Tatiana Terekova as Gamzatti)

Which one is the TRUE one?? I am very puzzled!!! Cause I want to dance it at a gala, and I want to be right on the credits of the music.

thanks

silvy

#2 su-lian

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Posted 17 February 2003 - 03:49 PM

I don't think this will be much help to you, but I can say that this piece of music is not from Don Quichotte, also by Minkus, because I have the music sheet of it at home (reduced for the piano), and this piece is not in it, so, unless the edition is not quite accurate (as it might be, one never knows, ballet music has been so used and interchanged as you have pointed out) this is not from Don Quichotte. Another thing is that in the programme of La Bayadere of the Paris Opera,Nureyev version, the one which Elisabeth Platel danced, it does not specify anything about this variation, while it does about some others which have music from other composers or change of order (in the three shades' variations)... So, once again, if no changes to the original music have been left out, one can suppose that this music is from La Bayadere and by Minkus himself, there is enough evidence to think it is. Also, I would say that the programmes from the Opera are quite reliable, since they specify some changes (music not actuaaly by Minkus, but integrated in his music as part of Don Quichotte) about Don Quichotte which aren't mentionned on the music sheet I have, but apart from that, it is the same as the music as in the Nureyev version, and so according to the programme, the "original" music. Now about Le Corsaire, I don't know what to say. There have been so many "borrowings" of music, that I don't really know who to trust. It could turn out that it is not by Minkus, but considered as part of La Bayadere and therefore not mentionned as a change (but that would surprise me since other changes have been mentionned), but since not by Minkus, his name will not appear in the list of composers who wrote Le Corsaire. Anyway, personally, I think it's from La Bayadere and by Minkus, even though it is only what I think and might not be correct.
Hope it'll help a bit.
Su-lian.

#3 su-lian

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Posted 17 February 2003 - 03:52 PM

P.S: I also have the CD of La Bayadere, and the variation is on it and no comment is made on it in the booklet. It's also the same orchestration as the version of the Paris Opera Ballet by John Lanchberry.

#4 silvy

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 04:51 AM

Thanks Su-lian for your very informative account. It all seems to point out that the music is of Minkus and from Bayadere itself.

Have you seen the Bayadere at the Paris Opera? I see that you live in Paris, that's why I ask.

thanks again

:D

silvy

#5 Mel Johnson

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 05:05 AM

I think we have to realize that these old ballets done to musique dansant composers must have had orchestra parts in something like loose-leaf binders, so that variations could be pulled from one to another without much ado. It was what Tchaikovsky was rebelling against when he insisted that his ballets be done with his score, and no substitutions or interpolations allowed.

#6 silvy

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 05:41 AM

ok Mr. Mel, then I am experiencing by myself what Tchaikowsky was feeling (I dont mean to compare myself with Tchaikowsky, by ANYl means!!! :D )

Your imagery of the "loose leaf" is very appropriate - I can clearly picture in my mind the conductor taking off the leaf of the original score and replacing it with another.

But, if I am not mistaken, I believe that in Black Swan pas de deux some of the music is by Drigo (the coda, I wud guess??) - I also believe that the Black Swan pas de deux belongs to the first act in the original score????

silvy

#7 su-lian

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 07:32 AM

Dear Silvy,
Yes, I live in Paris (or rather on the outskirts, but I often go to see the Paris Opera Ballet) and have seen La Bayadere by the Paris Opera in 1999 with Agnes Letestu, Jose Martinez and Marie-Agnes Gillot. Only, I didn't realise how lucky I was and didn't know who they were (it was the first time I went to the Opera, I have been doing ballet for many years, but my interest for ballet itself, not just doing it, started just a bit before then) and I had seats as far back as you can get, so I didn't see much. I never the less spent a wonderful evening. But, I have the DVD of it with Elisabeth Platel, Isabelle Guérin and Laurent Hilaire and it is magnificent. I have also recently seen a documentary about that version on TV (it's called "Reves d'étoiles" and it's a series of documentaries of about 90 minutes on Nureyev's ballets which show extracts,show how the dancers practise it, how the choreography was made, why it is this way... basically explain Nureyev's version) and it was very interesting. According to it, Nureyev kept the original choreography for that variation, and it is very difficult technically, the kind of movements for Gamzatti are totally different than the ones for Nikiya which is more expressive, while this varaition is pure technique.
About Swan Lake, the traditionally used music for the Black Swan Pas-de-deux is from act one, but some choreographers also use the music from the original pas-de-six from act three (Nureyev used the fifth variation from it for Odile , at least in the version he did for the Vienna State Opera Ballet, and some use its coda too), and some others also use the music which has been used for the Tchaikovsky Pas -de-deux by Balanchine, which was apparently meant for Swan Lake, but was never integrated in it. Some even mix the musics from the different pas-de-deux. I wouldn't be able to specify who used what exactly though, I have seen so many different versions of Swan Lake (Nureyev, Bourmeister, Bruhn, Ek, Bart...). About Drigo, according to the programme, it is Siegfried's variation in what was the pas-de-deux inact one and has become the pas-de-deux in act three (it's all so complicated!) that he composed after Marius Petipa asked him to.
Su-lian.

#8 Mel Johnson

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 07:40 AM

All of the music in the 1895 score of Swan Lake is by Tchaikovsky. It is Odile's variation which is an interpolation, but it's only an arrangement of a Tchaikovsky piano piece, orchestrated by Drigo. Siegfried's variation is original to the 1877 score, but shortened, and the last statement of the first theme beefed up to form an effective ending period.

#9 silvy

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 08:01 AM

thank you mr Mel!!! I see I was mistaken in my assumption. So, do you agree with Su-lian that Gamzatti's variation is from Minkus?

su-lian, what a privilege to have seen the POB - it must be one of the very best companies in the world. I mean, I absolutely love the Russians, but French are so feminine, and have such a good footwork.

silvy

#10 Mel Johnson

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 08:12 AM

I believe it's by Minkus. It seems to have more of the Viennese style about it than Pugni's Italianate touches, or Adam's very French-opera long lines. It's very hard to tell.

#11 silvy

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 11:52 AM

thanks, Mr Mel. Somehow I seem to get the same feeling - it cud be Minkus, but there are some parts that sound more like Drigo to me - but maybe it is only my imagination!!!

Wud you say that if I put "music by Minkus" in the credits wud be ok?

thanks!!!

silvy

#12 Mel Johnson

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 12:18 PM

I would think so. To put "Music attributed to Minkus" might appear over-careful from a scholarly standpoint.

#13 silvy

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 12:22 PM

thank you Mr Mel - so I will put "music by Minkus"

thanks a lot for your help, both to you and to su-lin

silvy


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