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Drigo's Serenade

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I was shocked after I downloaded MP3s of Drigo's 'Serenade' - thinking it was for violin, I was horrified to find it was SANG by Nelson Eddy :) ..................SANG??? When did this piece come to have lyrics? I was always rather curious when searching for recordings of any material by Drigo on disc to find his 'Valse Bluette' and 'Serenade', which I thought had thier roots in Petipa's 1900 "Harlequin's Millions", included in opera repertoire recordings by various singers. If they would have taken away Eddy's vocals, what a beautiful piece it would've been, sounding very 'moonlit night in Tuscany' if you get what I mean......

Luckily, the MP3 I downloaded of Drigo's 'Valse Bluette' was a ravishing melody orchestrated for solo violin, played by Mischa Elman. I sure hope that one day someone on this planet records Drigo's full "Harlequin's Millions"...Ive never seen Balanchine's production, nor anyone elses. It must be a beautiful score.

Edited by Solor
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Drigo's "Serenade" and "Valse Bluette" were great salon and concert favorites of the nineteen-oughts. The former was sung by all sorts of singers, and the latter was a violin favorite. They were both in the White Star Line's standard music book, and hence, may have been played on board RMS Titanic.

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in gusev's staging of HARLEQUINADE for the maly th. ballet - telecast in the late 1970s and in a later staging shown on soviet tv w/ the vaganova pupils, the 'serenade' is mimed by the dancers while the accompanying score includes both the instrumental and vocal aspects of this number. there are photocards of the 'serenaders' w/ their long-necked string instruments miming the serenading of their ladyloves. balanchine calls the 4 black-clad men and women in this number 'Scaramouches' and there are no lyrics sung in the pit for his staging, but that would seem to be his choice, while the performance of the lyrics for the ballet/mime number would seem to be maryinsky tradition.

fokine had this 'serenader' role in his rep. as did any number of other now famous dancers. n.legat too if mem. serves.

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THANK YOU - what a great photo...thanks guys for the info, much appreciated!!

The snippets of "Harlequinade" that I have on disc - the 'Valse Bluette', 'Serenade' and the Pas de Trois that is on the Bonynge CD 'Art of the Prima Ballerina' and 'Fete du Ballet' (this pas turns up in the film 'Maryinsky Ballet' aka 'Kirov Classics') is some deliciously beautiful music. It sounds very Italian.

The Kirov's film where the Pas de Trois from "Harlequinade" is performed as "The Fairy Doll" (music incorrectly credited to Josef Bayer) - beautifully if I do say so myself, by Larissa Lezhnina, Dmitry Gruzdev and Yaroslav Fadayev, credits this pas to the brothers Legat. Is this in anyway based on Petipa's original? What function does this pas de trois serve in the ballet - is it a pas de trois in "Harlequinad"?

I find it interesting that the Drigo music as perfromed by the Mariinksy Orchestra in the Kirov film, in comparison to the Bonynge recording, is very different. The principle melodies are the same, as well as the structure of the piece - amount of bars, etc. (no difference in edits or what have you). Unfortunatly the female variation - a beautiful pizzicati typical of Drigo when writing for the ballerina, is not included in Bonynge's recording, and instead a little short allegro number with solo clarinet is in its place (?) . I find it curious how different the orchestration is when I compare the two - far different. The Mariinksy music is lavishly orchestrated, whereas the Bonynge recording, which is similar, is pretty much the Mariinksy's version in a more stripped down form - arrangements are not as complex.

Why is this? The music, for Bonynge's recording comes from Pavlova's repertoire, but the Mariinky's music, I would think anyway, is the original at least regarding Drigo's original orchestration.

Also, if anyone knows, - Bonynge's recording of parts of 'The Shades' from "La Bayadere", originally recorded for "The Art of the Prima Ballerina". This version of the Shades music is from Pavlova's repertory. It is presented in a very severe colorful reorchestration. This version of the music also turns up on Bonynge's recording of the full-length Makraova "Bayadere" with the rest of the music done a la lanchbery. No one is credited for the orchestration of the Pavlova material in either recording, nor on the box set 'Fete Du Ballet' where the music turns up as well.

Edited by Solor
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Re: pavlova’s connection to BAYADERE shades, it seems the ballerina had tentatively planned a staging of the scene for her company, under N. Sergeyev’s direction, but when the ballet was being put together Pavlova feared it looked dated and cancelled her plans. I suppose it’s possible this version on CD connected to her was planned for that staging, tho’ how it came to be notated into the musical version put into bonynge’s hands I cannot say.

The drigo pas de trios, on FETE DU B is certainly that associated w/ the Legat brothers’ pas de trios for the fairy doll and her two pierrots.

I never known this to be from HARLEQUINADE, tho’ perhaps it was excised earlier than the stagings to which Gusev’s and Balanchine’s refer. Drigo is definitely the trio’s composer; the music was in place at the 1903 premiere of FAIRY DOLL – the Legats’ ballet involved interpolations to Bayer’s popular score from the beginning – besides Drigo (for this central pas de trios) the ballet interpolated a marche miniature by Tchaikovsky; a french variation (also by drigo); a ‘negre et negress’ number to Gottschalk; a baby doll dance to Liadov, and a danse russe by Rubinstein.

Meanwhile here are some scans of roles connected to both FAIRY DOLL and MILLIONS D’ARLEQUIN: Center the 3-part scan, Bakst’s costume sketch for Keshessinksa’s fairy doll; Left, L.V. Lopukhova? as one of the baby dolls; Right, P. N. Vladimirov supporting V. A. Semyonov as Fairy Doll’s two Pierrots.

The fourth card shows Vera Petipa, Marius’s youngest child and thought by him to have been the best dancers of his all offspring, costumed for the polonaise in LES MILLIONS D’ARLEQUIN.



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Excellent photos! Especially that of Vladimirov and Semenov!

In the Bonynge recording of the full Makarova Bayadere the numbers provided for the Shades scene are all called 'original Pavlova material' - the numbers of the shades pas classique are -the grand adage, the 3 variations, Nikiyas danse du voile, and the finale- the first two numbers of the pas -entree of the shades, waltz, entree for solor, entree for nikiya- Lanchbery's orch. Regarding Pavlova's music for bayadere, when did she plan her staging RG?

Regarding the Fairy Doll pas de Trois, I have it titled 'Les Millions d'Arlequin' Riccardo E. Drigo on piano reduction of the pas, which 100% corresponds with the Kirov film w/ Lezhnina, including her pizzicati variation. As well I have seen the Art of the Prima Ballerina recording, in listings online such as Amazon, list track 2 - the pas de trois by Drigo, as being from 'Arlikinada'.

Perhaps the material used for the Bonynge recording of the Drigo pas is of a manuscript copied by hand, and the copiers were to lazy to record all of the parts for instruments! Or perhaps its a reorchestration of a piano reduction, with whoever did the work orchestrating as best he could off the top of his head as to how the music sounded as orginally scored.

Edited by Solor
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i assume pavlova intended to tour her Shades sc.

i know that spesivtseva and peretti did a much reduced version of Shades for a paris gala in 1925, or so. but it was one off as the brits might say.

for a short time in '34 sergeyev took a version of Shades which he called 'the rajah's dream' on a tour in the england, but i'm not sure for how long this staging was shown. see credits below:

Rêve du Radjah : Chor: Nicolai Sergeev; lib: based on La Bayadère; cos: Constantine Korovine. First English perf: Bournemouth, Pavilion, Mar 5, 1934; Russian Ballet (Nicolai Sergeev)

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