Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tchaikovsky - Dornröschen (Sleeping Beauty) - Antal Dorati

Tchaikovsky - Dornröschen (Sleeping Beauty) - Antal Dorati
Ballet | Eac, flac, cue | log, cover | 2 CD, 711 MB
June 13, 1995 | Philips | RapidShare

To ballet lovers and music lovers alike, this is the only Sleeping Beauty score to get.

For those fans of the incredible living art of ballet, this Cd is a remarkable treat. Although nothing beats a live performance, or one captured on film, the score to a ballet is just as enjoyable and as uplifting to hear. Antal Dorati (conductor of the Monte Carlo Ballet, symphonic conductor post World War II- 50's, 60's) began his career in the 30's. A perfectionist, a master, he is everything the great Maestro Toscanini was to the conducting podium. Dorati has conducted Sleeping Beauty many times, in Monte Carlo and in Detroit. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is a European orchestra that Dorati worked with toward the end of his life.
In this recording, the European elegance of the ballet is marvelously captured- the perfect detail on the strings, the sheer symphonic treatment and coloration of each individual instrument, and it is without a question THE MOST COMPLETE SLEEPING BEAUTY, omitting no musical piece that Tchaikovsky composed for his second ballet. Swan Lake's premiere was a failure and to make up for it, so to speak, Tchaikovsky worked on an even greater ballet. Sleeping Beauty is much more than a fairy tale ballet, far more complex than a child's fantasy about a princess under an evil spell and a handsome prince who awakens her with a kiss. Only when you deconstruct the ballet's music do we realize that Tchaikovsky had written something serious, something greater than himself. It is the greatest achievement of his career.
The opening theme is that of the evil fairy, dark, fatalistic, slightly bordering on neurotic Wagnerian-style conflict; but Tchaikovsky minimized Wagnerian themes and did not lavish the ballet with too much darkness as he did in Swan Lake. Although Tchaikovsky genuinely disliked Wagner, the argument can be made that some Wagnerian motifs were in mind when he composed music for his ballet heroes and heroines. The evil fairy's theme is the exact opposite of the Lilac Fairy's theme- it is her theme that brings hope. A melodic, uplifting, beautiful work for strings, the Lilac Fairy's theme appears time and again in the first two acts, reminding us that no matter the apparent success of the evil fairy's spell, the princess Aurora will be awakened by true love's kiss. Act I and III has perhaps the most striking pieces. A March is used in Act I, as the guests arrive at the christening of the newborn princess, a march that was featured in Disney's animated version of Sleeping Beauty. The evil fairy's music is further developed as she casts the dark enchantment on the princess, she is surrounded by nasty rats and foul magic, and in her moment of triumph, she seems to be laughing, laughing cynically with the violin strings. Her music is dissonant, powerful but always, always, calmed by the Lilac's Fairy theme.
The waltzes, which are more than one on the ballet, abound with lilting, sugar-coated melodies. The most famous is of course the music Disney used for the song in Sleeping Beauty "Once Upon A Dream", but the other waltzes are full of nationalistic flavors, some sounding Spanish, others nearly Viennese in which one expects Strauss to make an appearance. This same kind of sentimentality on orchestra is evident in the bouncy themes that Disney used for the three fairies who aid Aurora in her darkest hours.
The Prince's hunt is a delightful work for dance ensembles, and his Vision of Aurora in Act 2 is a virtuouso moment for the cellist. The Panorama is upbeat, soulful and touched by the perfect elegance, Russian fire dominates the grander moments, such as the Polacca, the Adagio and Entree in Act 3. The Sarabande has an English feel to it, a chamber music piece, and one begins to realize upon listening to it, that Tchaikovsky's individual divertiseements and melodies are as if different gems in a single chain of jewels. The most striking music Tchaikovsky ever composed is to be found here - the Apotheose. Ending the ballet, Tchaikovsky outdid himself, borrowing a theme from an old French hymn, orchestrating the fanfare with grandeur, the dark, fiery strings reach stratospheric, divine, cosmic heights and one can only listen with humility. What was Tchaikovsky thinking when he composed so beautiful a dream ? To ballet lovers and music lovers alike, this is the only Sleeping Beauty score to get.

CD Content
The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66
Composed by Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky
Performed by Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam
with Theo Olof, Jean Decroos
Conducted by Antal Dorati

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