Likes Likes:  0
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake - Why are four bars missing in the finale?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    42
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake - Why are four bars missing in the finale?

    I've noticed there are some performances of Swan Lake where four bars are missing in the final.

    Heres's a version with the four bars present (2.42-2.50):
    https://youtu.be/JI7AsZGnyi4?t=155

    And here the four bars are not present (at 1:51:57):
    https://youtu.be/9rJoB7y6Ncs?t=6710

    Anyone who knows the story behind these two versions?
    In a performance I just saw the four bars where missing and that was with the 1885 (1895?) coreography by Petipa and Ivanov.
    Last edited by Oortone; May-31-2019 at 08:26.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    arkansas/missouri
    Posts
    1,310
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I only notice a temp change.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Clouds Weep Snowflakes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Trail of notes
    Posts
    585
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    What do you mean? There are changes in the tale's end, originally it was tragic and sad, now frequently changed to a happy ending, if that counts for something.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    42
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Clouds Weep Snowflakes View Post
    What do you mean? There are changes in the tale's end, originally it was tragic and sad, now frequently changed to a happy ending, if that counts for something.
    Quote Originally Posted by david johnson View Post
    I only notice a temp change.
    Please listen at the time locations I've indicated.

    In the first example at 2min 42sec there's a four bar passage that in the second example, if the versions where equal would start at 1hour 51min 57sec, but it doesn't. Instead the second versions skips to the part 4 bars later that starts at 2min 50sec in the first example.

    The differences in time indication is because the first clip is only the final and the second clip is a complete performance.
    In my links I've embedded time so they will start playing a few seconds before the passage in question.

    And I'm quite sure this is not because of video editing since I recently attended a live performance where those four bars where missing.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    1,952
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I've been looking at the sheet music (a piano transcription, actually). The four bars are in the score. They are also in the ROH video I have as well as in the Previn audio recording.

    The Kirov isn't the same. The music in the score consists of half notes in triplets. But the Kirov version sounds to me like 4 note phrases. That seems to be the way Kirov/Mariinsky plays it. You can hear the same thing in the Gergiev audio recording.

    You might learn something more if you can find an Urtext edition of the score with annotations.
    Last edited by jegreenwood; Jun-03-2019 at 01:12.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Gilbert, AZ
    Posts
    1,192
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    This is just something that choreographers do. They frequently, and without any care about the music, make cuts to fit their conception and interpretation. The Swan Lake finale has been mangled on cd more than practically anything - it's inexcusable. In live performance, you just put up with it - the dance is the priority, to heck with the music. Erich Leinsdorf warned wanna be conductors about the treacherous anti-musical doings in the ballet. Some ballets, like Sleeping Beauty, are cut terribly, mostly to fit the whole show in the 2.5 hr time allotment before union-mandated overtime rules go into effect.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    42
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    This is just something that choreographers do. They frequently, and without any care about the music, make cuts to fit their conception and interpretation. The Swan Lake finale has been mangled on cd more than practically anything - it's inexcusable. In live performance, you just put up with it - the dance is the priority, to heck with the music. Erich Leinsdorf warned wanna be conductors about the treacherous anti-musical doings in the ballet. Some ballets, like Sleeping Beauty, are cut terribly, mostly to fit the whole show in the 2.5 hr time allotment before union-mandated overtime rules go into effect.
    Yes, that probably explains it. I noticed this on Wikipedia:
    During the late 1880s and early 1890s, Petipa and Vsevolozhsky discussed with Tchaikovsky the possibility of reviving Swan Lake. However, Tchaikovsky died on 6 November 1893, just when plans to revive Swan Lake were beginning to come to fruition. It remains uncertain whether Tchaikovsky was prepared to revise the music for this revival. Whatever the case, as a result of Tchaikovsky's death, Drigo was forced to revise the score himself, after receiving approval from Tchaikovsky's younger brother, Modest. There are major differences between Drigo's and Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake score. Today, it is Riccardo Drigo's revision of Tchaikovsky's score, and not Tchaikovsky's original score of 1877, that most ballet companies use.
    So I guess the four bars where removed by Drigo since the ballet I attended was based on this coreographic version.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swan_L...evival_of_1895
    Last edited by Oortone; Jun-03-2019 at 17:09.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Marsilius's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Bristol, UK.
    Posts
    155
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    mbhaub makes a very good point about the music being manipulated to fit the choreographer's intentions. Let's remember that that was how ballet music was written in Tchaikovsky's day - including by Tchaikovsky himself. The ballet master/choreographer would have his conception of the action in his mind and then give virtually a commercial order to the composer whom he'd subsequently hired - so many bars of music at this tempo, followed by so many at that tempo, etc. etc.

    Manipulating/editing the music to fit the action of any particular production was the 19th century norm - only in the 20th century did it work the other way around (composers would write new scores for ballet and only then would choreographers fit their moves to them).

    As there was no performing ur-text in 19th century scores, I think that we ought to treat modifications on stage, even to this day, with some understanding and sympathy.

    Of course, when making a recording on CD, there's no reason to make any alterations from the fullest version of the composer's original score - unless you're presenting it as a version performed at a specific time and place when changes had actually been made.
    Last edited by Marsilius; Jun-03-2019 at 17:09.

  9. #9
    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    1,952
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I listened to half a dozen recordings of the passage on Tidal. Only Kirov/Mariinsky recordings omit the passage, which is actually 8 bars. Then all of them switch to the 4 note phrases. It's odd because Mariinsky uses the Petipa/Ivanov choreography for which Drigo made the adjustments.

    I actually saw their production about 5 years ago, but don't remember it that precisely.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Gilbert, AZ
    Posts
    1,192
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    While we're at it, if you're looking for what is one of the absolute best record of excerpts - all the good ones and a complete finale - try to find the old Arthur Fiedler conducting the Boston Pops on RCA. It's brilliant. Flawlessly played, conducted and recorded. One of those overlooked gems from that fine, underrated conductor.
    71qBRyBRKZL._SX522_.jpg

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •