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Posts posted by doug

  1. Thank you, Ms. Brown, for your graciousness. Part of the difficulty working on Pharaoh was having only the notation pages and repetiteur pages that Lacotte provided. I had perused the entire notation during my visits to Harvard, but did not own a copy of the entire ballet. As far as things not being right in the score, I was always up front with Lacotte about discrepancies between notation and score. For example, the notation might indicate a certain combination is performed 4 times, when the music would only allow for 3 times, etc. This is not uncommon, particularly with N. Sergeev's notations (the notations are not all in his hand, by the way), which are more memory aids than the early examples that appear to be intended as works of art in themselves. Some of his Russian- or French-language rubrics in the notations are followed by a question mark (his own)!

    As far as Lacotte not believing, so to speak, that a particular dance could be Petipa, it must be remembered that we view reconstructed Russian classical ballet on the other side of the development of the Vaganova school and that what has been handed down as Petipa often is a combination of Petipa and a series of subsequent changes or sometimes completely 'new' choreography. Seeing choreography closer to what was originally danced, or at least danced during the Imperial era, can be very disappointing to some hoping for something more bravura in style or closer to what is commonly thought of as Petipa.

    In the case of Pharaoh, the dances often seemed very old fashioned (multiple - endless! - arabesque voyagee and emboite steps) compared to steps in Bayadere or Beauty or Raymonda. This made we wonder whether the Pharoah choreography changed much between the 1860s and the early 1900s when it was written down. The steps simply did not jive with Lacotte's nouveau classical style that he was employing to create his own dances for Pharaoh.

    Re: the Harvard collection. It is housed in only 31 boxes and a detailed finding aid explains where each item can be found. The ballets are indeed cataloged by composer. The notations are stored in a number of large file folders within the boxes, so it is possible that the library representative looked only at the first Pharaoh folder before realizing the notation comprised a number of folders. Most decrepancies in the cataloging have been ironed out over the years and handwritten notes on the finding aid offer explanation. Mona Inglesby did an excellent job of identifying what is what in the collection either before she sold it to Harvard or in preparing to send it to the library.

    The Pharaoh river variations are actually notated in the main body of the Pharoah notation. The items that rg lists as 'small balletic pieces' include a notated variation identified both as from La Source and from the rivers section of Pharaoh. I have a copy of this document but did not use it in my reconstruction because upon looking at it I didn't think it was from Pharaoh because it didn't match what is in the main body of the notation.

    Most items are actually very well identified in either Russian, English or French. The 'small balletic pieces' folder, particularly the one mentioned above, is a mish-mash or catch-all of extra bits which makes it hard to determine in some cases what is included.

    The International Ballet archives are stored separately.

    For the record: I believe enough is notated of Pharaoh to allow for a reconstruction of at least the principal dances and much of the action of the ballet, and this is typical of most of the ballets notated in the collection. :)


  2. I would have to check which Dancing Times issue it was (I believe sometime in 2000). My article discussed the Rivers variations, offering the choreography as recorded in the notation and discussion of the accompanying music from the two-violin repetiteur, also in the Sergeev Collection.

  3. Hi, everyone. Right, it was actually Lacotte's view that most of the Pharaoh notation was unusable. Pharaoh is notated like many of the ballets in the collection - mostly by N. Sergeev and mostly just for legs and feet with groundplan. But this format is generally quite usable. I've not worked extensively on Pharoah, but I was able to reconstruct everything Lacotte provided. In the end, however, he used very little.

    I hope it has not gotten into print anywhere that I feel the notation mostly unusable! I believe just the opposite and continue to work with ballets notated in a similar fashion to Pharaoh.

    Harvard documents list $7500US as the price paid for the collection.


  4. Yes, the variations were danced to Delibes' original music using Bonynge's recording. Medora's variation was danced (at least in some St. Petersburg productions) to Delibes' original music prior to the 1899 revival of the ballet in St. Petersburg. Gulnare's variation was danced to music that has yet to be identified (best guess at the moment is Pugni), but that music was similar in rhythm, tempi and length to Delibes, so we transferred the notated choreography to Delibes' original music. Not "authentic," but this allowed for use of Delibes' entire score.

  5. Yes, you should contact the Gershwin Estate about the pieces in question. After a certain period of time (75 years in most cases, I believe, in the US), a piece passes into the public domain. Music rights to popular music of Gershwin's era are usually considered to be inextricably linked with lyrics rights, which usually attach even if the pieces are performed without lyrics, so this may produce various rights holders for varying pieces. This info is really just scratching the surface. I've not dealt with the Gershwin Estate, but I have dealt considerably with the Jerome Kern Estate and found those involved very helpful and accommodating.

  6. The Bonynge recording uses the original Delibes orchestration of his music. Solor, be careful about stating "it is obvious" until you have been able to look at source material and read a description of it. The violin rehearsal score used for the 1899 revival of Corsaire doesn't guarantee re-orchestration of Jardin anime music by Drigo. I have not been able to see the orchestral performance score of the 1899 production, however. This is not available in the West, so far as I know. I've written about the Jardin anime music in Dancing Times, Sept 2004. The interpolated variations for 1899 are not by Delibes but by other composers.

  7. MinkusPugni, here we go again. You simply need to be better read in order to make the sort of statements you're making. A lot of scholars are working hard to sort out these details and blind claims such as yours that will be sitting on the internet to misguide well-meaning Google-ers won't help.

    rg has a Russian publication on Paquita that is good source research. POB's program book for Lacotte's Paquita also offers excellent detail about the provenance of many Paquita variations. Ends up Delvedez composed more than was thought, Minkus less. This is now substantiated fact.

  8. I must have missed Helene's comment.

    I was very interested to re-read Jillana's comments on training having recently been told of the same issues (no heels down, putting foot down after closing fifth) occuring during a recent staging of a Balanchine ballet outside of NYCB.

    I would think that those attending NYCB do indeed care about whose choreography they are seeing, but I may be too idealistic. I know this is true for me the few times that I am able to see City Ballet each year. I often see them performing ballets that PNB also performs. I tend to prefer PNB but that well could be because I am used to seeing a certain way of moving, a certain way of working on pointe, a use of the leg in arabesque, etc.

    I believe it is reasonable to expect City Ballet to be giving high-standard performances of Balanchine ballets and to include many of his works in the repertory. That said, high-standard will mean different things to different audience members.

  9. The notations for Le Corsaire, which date from between about 1894 and 1906, do not include the pas de deux to music by Drigo (which dates from 1899). My current opinion is that the dance was indeed a pas de deux and the pas de deux a trois was fashioned in later years. I hope this can eventually be clarified, at least with regard to what was done in the production supervised by Petipa.

  10. 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.

  11. Arlene Croce wrote about the RDB's Coppelia and the piece is reprinted in one of her collections (After-Images, pp. 316-319). She describes how the production is different from more "traditional" productions. Worth reading.

    As a side note, I think the Kent Nagano recording with the Orchestre de L'Opera de Lyon is ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT - actually life-changing with regard to my view of Delibes (sorry so OTT). In my opinion, the hands-down best recording available of Coppelia. It's on Erato 4509-91730-2.

  12. PNB tapes every single performance and I assume most other large companies do, too. We have a house camera in the center of the dress circle ledge. All tapes are kept in a fire-safe room in our studios. The dancers can watch them (and regularly do watch them) in our production office.

  13. Does the Bonynge recording of GISELLE include the Peasant pas? I believe it includes what I have listed below.

    I have the Mario Bros edition of the GISELLE piano score that includes the PAS DES PAYSANS by Burgmuller. THe numbers are as follows:

    3/4 Moderato in D major

    6/8 Adagio in G major

    Variation 1 - 2/4 Allegretto in D Major

    Variation 2 - 2/4 Allegretto in G major with running 16th notes in the melody throughout (I believe this is the female variation)

    Variation 3 - 6/8 Allegretto in E major

    Coda 3/4 Allegro in D major

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