Royal Opera House Orchestra, Covent Garden, under the direction of Ernest Ansermet
Reference: BMCD 840
Bar code: 8427328008402
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· Collectors Edition
· Issued in Double-CD Digipack Edition
· 28-Page Original Facsimile Booklet
· Original Living Stereo Recordings
· Newly Remastered in 24-Bit HQ Sound
The recording of these ballet excerpts recalled to me with pleasure the many years I worked together with the Ballets Russes of Diaghileff in Paris, the United States and numerous European and South American countries, as well as my association with the Royal Ballet of London on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the death of Diaghileff in 1954.
To direct a ballet is for a conductor a great and gratifying experience for it demands a completely special rhythmic sense, feeling for tempo and technical precision. Ballet today rarely has a large orchestra at its disposal and this is highly regrettable since ballet conductors need it if the musical effect is to be what it should.
In general, ballet music, except for its rhythmically accentuated character, presents no special conducting problem, but the ballets of Stravinsky brought into symphonic literature changes of rhythm which completely revised the technique of conducting. In these two records it was not possible to include examples from Stravinsky since it is difficult to extract from them short excerpts. Besides, the aim of the album is to recall works on which the glory of the ballet was founded.
In my opinion, Coppélia, masterpiece of Delibes, is a model ballet and I believe this score was not without its influence on the last ballets of Tchaikovsky. These are however, in their turn, masterpieces truly worthy of the great musician which Tchaikovsky was. A progress in the quality of the music is apparent from Swan Lake to Sleeping Beauty to The Nutcracker.
The rebirth of the ballet under the influence of Diaghileff was responsible for extremely interesting works. I fear though that the masterpieces of this periodthe ballets of Stravinsky, of Ravel, of Manuel de Fallamarked for the time being a high point in the creation of ballet music which has never since been reached.
One is not sufficiently aware that an art form does not develop unless it finds a social base and ballet at this moment, although it has found passionate supporters in Anglo-Saxon countries, depends on a cosmopolite and changing public which does not dictate clear directives to the authors.
In these circumstances it is the more pleasant to rediscover the works which have been the touchstones of the musical genre.
Ernest Ansermet (From the originla liner notes)