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New CD -- Night Shadow, Etudes, Napoli III

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Here's news from David Leonard:


We've recently managed to obtain copies of the long deleted two-CD set of recordings by the London Festival Ballet Orchestra, under Terence Kern. The set includes complete recordings of Etudes, Night Shadow, excerpts from Napoli, and the famous pas de deux from Flower Festival at Genzano and Le Corsaire. There are no other recordings of most of these items, and what makes the recordings particularly valuable is that the recordings are all at performance speed, making the set an essential acquisition for ballet schools and students. The set also sells at bargain price: two CDs for the price of one.

Full details can be found at:


complete with on-line ordering facilities.

Alternatively you may send orders by:

email: orders@dancebooks.co.uk

telephone: +44) (0) 1420 86138

fax: +44 (0) 1420 86142

post to Dance Books Ltd., The Old Bakery, 4 Lenten Street, Alton, Hampshire GU34 1HG, UK.

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haven't listened to my recording of this gala in a while: by 'original' variation do you mean that danced regularly by fonteyn, et alia after nureyev staged his 'corsaire' pas de deux for the royal ballet? if so, then is likely minkus, as it seems to have been taken, at some point, from 'the dream scene' of 'don quixote' where it is the variation for the queen of the dryads, and interpolated into the soviet 'corsaire' concert version of the originial 'pas de duex a trois,' if mem. serves....

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Actually the variation Fonteyn danced to in Nureyevs staging of the pas de deux was from Don Q and written by Anton Simon and probably stuck in there when Gorsky revised the ballet....why Fonteyn danced this variation in the Corsaire pas with Nureyev I dont know, but most people unfortunatly think that her variation is the original female number by drigo, but its not. Luckily the original variation (a lively 2/4) is recorded on the disc, and its alot more fun than the Fonteyn one. Anyway Petipa would never have put two 3/4 variations one after the other, as in the Nureyev/Fonteyn Corsaire pas de deux with the interpolated Don Q solo.

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forgot about the a.simon authorship here.

actually the separate history of this number first included, in 1899(?) for the pirates' lair scene (and added especially for legnani(?)), and then turned into a concert number, eventually made famous by nureyev in the west, is a story i've been longing for some russian/soviet archivist to tell. i suspect alexander chekrigen had a hand in putting this set-piece on the boards as a showpiece/highlight, separate from the full production but it's only a hunch and i don't have the records, etc. on hand to try to piece the saga together. as for what variations got lifted from what other places to serve as showpiece variations, i suspect the logic at work here, possibly taken from the thinking that guided the 'fluid' possibilities for solos in the grand pas (divertissement) from 'paquita,' was based on what solos were to the liking of whatever ballerninas were in line to perform in the duet as a concert number. (a link to answer of the simon solo here might well be alla sizova, who danced this duet w/ nureyev at their 'graduation' concert. as the now-historic film shows, she danced this same simon variation, with great ease, flair and power alongside nureyev when they were both finishing their school years. i wonder who her teacher/coach was at that time. perhaps that individual added this number. or perhaps it was added earlier by another ballerina who was part of sizova's lineage.)

i hope i can give a listen to my 'ballet gala' CD soon; it's been a while, and now i wonder if the variation given there is the one gelsey kirkland chose when she danced the 'corsaire' duet on gala programs. as i recall, with respect to new york ballet audiences anyway, her 1970s performances of what was an unfamiliar variation marked the first time since nureyev's 1960s version had become popular that a variation different from that made famous by fonteyn was given in this number.

so many questions; so few readily available ways to get at the answers...

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just checked the 'ballet gala' recording and yes, unless my memory is completly off, the variation given there and familiar from other russian performances of this 'corsaire' number, is the one i recall kirkland's dancing.

after doing a little checking, i think her debut in this number, which had her dancing this variation, came with credit as follows:

choreography, Rudolf Nureyev after Marius Petipa ; danced by American Ballet Theatre: Gelsey Kirkland and Ted Kivitt.

it was part of ABT's 35 anniversary gala at City Center, on January 25, 1975.

later that year she danced the number again, opposite nureyev, at least once w/ nureyev at the met op.house and once again opp. nureyev at the NY State Th.

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rg's point about different variations for different ballerinas has a great deal of substance I imagine. I remember being told that when the young Markova began to learn Swan Lake Grigoriev asked her which variation she preferred: Legnani's or Kchessinska's; both 'authentic'.

But the reason for the choice of Corsaire variation on that disc is quite simply that it was the one Galina Samsova danced.

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