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Swan Lake
Swan Lake
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (22) - Disc #2


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CD Details

All Artists: Tchaikovsky
Title: Swan Lake
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Jvc / Xrcd
Original Release Date: 1/1/1997
Re-Release Date: 2/4/1997
Genre: Classical
Styles: Ballets & Dances, Ballets
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 009119650021

CD Reviews

A Mystery Why This Recording Isn't Better-Known
Gary | 05/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Indeed, it is a mystery why this Swan Lake is not better-known to ballet fans. One reason I can think of is perhaps most people are not familiar with the name "Marinsky Theatre Orchestra." It is actually the Kirov Orchestra. The other two spellings are "Mariinsky" with double "Is" or "Maryinsky" with a "y". These variations are used more frequently in the West. Furthermore, I don't think the recording was meant for wide distribution in the U.S. to begin with. About the recording: It is not your usual complete Swan Lake. Rather, it is the Kirov's own version, the way it was played when they premiered it! As some may know, after the failure of the original Swan Lake production at the Bolshoi in 1877, Tchaikovsky was later persuaded to revise the score. Unfortunately, before he got around to it he died. As a result, Petipa, Ivanov, and Riccardo Drigo (a Marinsky Theatre resident composer/conductor) decided to take upon themselves to complete the job. As was hoped, the revised Swan Lake was an instant success at its 1895 Kirov/Marinsky premiere! Now we come to this recording (it's actually 2 CDs, rather than 1). Viktor Fedotov said in the liner-notes that the goal of this project (the recording) was to give us the definitive recording of Swan Lake--the way it was played at it's Kirov premiere. And what a Swan Lake it is! Fedotov is a true veteran conductor. He conducts Swan Lake with great authority as only he knows how. The sound of the Marinsky Theatre (Kirov) Orchestra is crisp and clear, because JVC, the company that made this recording, used 20-bit technology during the recording sessions. Except for certain excisions, there are two big differences between this version and the others. They are on Disc #2: one on track 15 and the other on track 18. This is new music orchestrated from some of Tchaikovsky's piano pieces. Drigo was soley responsible for the additions and changes to the score. In fact, these numbers can be heard in Kirov's videos of the ballet. So for those of you who were waiting for Kirov's complete recording of Swan Lake to come out, little did you know it already has--but under a different name."
The Sacared Performance Score
Adam | Ballet Historian and Former Professional Ballet Da | 07/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In 1877 Tchaikovsky wrote "Swan lake" for the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre's ballet company. This production was not a great success, due in part that the choreographer was of minimal talent, and that 19th century ballet dancers were not used to symphonically sophisticated music for thier dancing. The ballet did not stay in the repretoire.

The choreographer and Chief Ballet Master of the Czar's Imperial Ballet Marius Petipa (creator of "La Bayadere", "Don Quixote", "The Nutcracker", and "Raymonda" among many others) comissioned Tchaikovsky to write the score for his 1890 ballet "The Sleeping Beauty". Tchaikovsky delivered a score that was a masterpiece of theatrical music, not just for the ballet but in general. It is sometimes regarded as his best work ever.

The instructions to Tchaikovsky by the choreographer Petipa were quite detailed and explicit as to the music needed. The directions served as amodel for the scenes, dances, etc. For example:

"...suddenly, Aurora notices the old woman. With a spindle she beats time in 2/4: then a transition into 3/4, a gay and very songful motive. When couting in 3/4 begins, Aurora seizes the spindle, which she waves like a scepter-32 bars. Suddenly (a pause). PAIN! BLOOD! 8 bars of largo..."

And thus Petipa would instruct from top to bottom of the ballet. These detailed directions did not inhibit Tchaikovsky's creativity but set it off.

"The Sleeping Beauty" was an astouding success, pushing the standards for not only choreography and the technique of the classical ballerina, but also for ballet music in general. A commission for the score for "The Nutcracker" soon followed for the 1892 season and again, Tchaikovsky delivered a superb score pushing even further the standards of ballet musc for the time.

After his death, much interest in Tchaikovsky's work stirred, and after a successful staging of an excerpt from his ballet "The Lake of the Swans" or "Swan Lake" as it is known today for a memorial concert in his honor, it was decided that the full length work be mounted. Unknown to most, Tchaikovsky knew of this before his death and had agreed to revise his score for a new staging, but unfortunatly it never came to be. This staging of "Swan Lake", premiered in 1895 for the Italian Ballerina Pierina Legnani, is the version that has been passed down through time to the dancers of today. It is the standard version of "Swan Lake".

The music was much revised for the 1895 "re-premiere" of the ballet by the resident composer/conductor of the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet Riccardo Drigo. He edited certain numbers, and re-arranged the order of others. In a few cases he took peices of Tchaikovshy's opus 72 music for piano and orchestrated them. His revisions are still performed by the orchestra in the theatre for just about every perfomance of "Swan Lake" today. Unfortunatly, when an orchestra sits down to record the music of "Swan Lake" it is the original 1877 composition that is recorded, and not the standard version used in live performance. This is known as the "performance score"

However, only 1 other recording exists of the performance score: It is only excerpts performed by the Georgian Festival Orchestra conducted by Vato Kahl, and is available through

Although the release reviewed here is out of print, it can be purchased through At the request of the widow of the conductor of this recording, the late Victor Fedotov, this recording was re-released through, a Russian company.
You've Tried The Rest, Now Try The Best
Rachel Garret | Beverly Hills | 12/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I completely concur with the favorable reviews and the praise that the other reviewer has provided. This recording is absolutely the best, and above all, COMPLETE, when most Swan Lake recordings (and even live ballet on film or DVD) are simply the traditional, straightforward, standard 1877 original version. That was the year that Tchaikovsky presented this (his first ballet) to the prestigious, up-scale Maryinsky Theater, which was frequented by the Czar and his family. For those who are familiar with ballet history, Swan Lake's premiere was a dismal failure. The original version is most heard today, although far more polished and perfected in score when taken in the hands of the right conductors (I can name a few, such as Antal Dorati, Igor Markevitch and Eugene Ormandy).But even Tchaikovsky was disappointed with the original score. He had envisioned a more embellished, full ballet garaunteed to make a lasting impression. He died before he could make a revision. He had, however, written a few musical numbers in piano transcription which never got into the original performance. It was up to the esteemed choreographer, co-worker and personal friend of Tchaikovsky, Marius Petipa, to revise the score to Swan Lake. That version was presented at the Maryinsky Theater several years later, same audience, but this time, they recognized the true beauty and magnetitude of the ballet. Swan Lake is the ballet that speaks for all ballets. It epitomizes the very essence of Romantic ballet- tragic, powerful, emotional, sweeping, everlasting. The plot is taken from a Danish fairy tale, possibly Hans Christian Anderson wrote the story, about a Princess named Odette, transformed into a swan through the dark spell of an evil sorcerer, Rothbart. Prince Siegfried, observing Odette in her temporary human form, fell deeply in love and would have her as his wife. Asking her to come to a ball in his palace, Odette agrees, for it will set the scene for Prince Siegfried to chose her as his wife from the vast number of princesses attending the ball. But through dark magic, Rothbart makes a clone of Odette- Odile (in some versions, Odile is his wicked daughter), who takes the place of Odette at the ball. Siegfried mistakes her for Odette and proposes marriage. At that moment, Rothbart shows Odette what has happened and laughs in triumph as he reveals the true nature of his deception. Siegfried confronts Rothbart to win back Odette. After an intense duel, Rothbart and Siegfried die. Odette, out of grief, joins Siegfried in death. Rothbart completely disappears, but the souls of Odette and Siegfried are joined in a blissful, spiritual union.Many versions prefer a happier ending to Swan Lake, ending in Rothbart's demise and the living triumph of Odette and Siegfried's love, but what they fail to realize is that it is a tragic love story, and although true love conquers all, Siegfried and Odette are supposed to die. The music to Swan Lake was new for its time. In the first half of the 19th century, ballets were light music, lyric in coloration, soft, waltz-like and even in the style of chamber music (i.e. Giselle, La Bayedere, La Sylphide) but Tchaikovsky's music was deemed symphonic, Wagnerian, and unsuitable for dancing. But this was proven wrong, and if anything, it is the music that ignites the diverse dancing, be it the romantic pas de deux between Siegfried and Odette or the intense scene featuring the swans in the lake, a theme heard in the Overture and borrowed from the swan motif in Wagner's opera Lohengrin). The ball scene at Siegfried's castle is effectively used for divertissement numbers, popular in ballets of the time and showpieces for the corps de ballet and these include a lush waltz, Neopolitan Dance and Hungarian Czardas. The ballerina in the role of the good heroine Odette is usually also playing the darker role of Odile, and this dual dance performance is a tour de force for top-notch prima ballerinas, not to mention a very coveted role. So there you have it, this Swan Lake is the one to have, the only, the Swan Lake. Unfortunately, and very sadly, there are no recordings available or left in stock here at Amazon. For those who want it, try Zshops, try other stores that might have it or even here at Amazon, who have the greatly useful service of having sellers for you to buy a used copy."