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Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake (Complete Ballet) Original recording remastered

44 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, June 1, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake remains a ballet favorite and a powerful star vehicle for the prima ballerina who must dance the roles of two characters- the "white swan" Odette and the black swan Odile, good and evil. Swan Lake has been recorded many times by celebrated conductors and their orchestras. On this recording, the Philadelphia Orchestra is led by the great Wolfgang Sawallisch.

Disc: 1
1. Introduction: Moderato Assai - Allegro Ma Non Troppo
2. No.1 - Scene: Allegro Giusto
3. No.2 - Valse: Tempo Di Valse
4. No.3 - Scene: Allegro Moderato
5. I: Intrada: Allegro
6. II: Adagio: Andante Sostenuto
7. III: Allegro Semplice
8. IV: Moderato
9. V: Allegro
10. VI: Coda: Allegro Vivace
See all 26 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. VI: Tempo Di Valse: Tout Le Monde Danse
2. VII: Coda: Allegro Vivo
3. No.14 - Scene: Moderato
4. No.15 - Scene: Allegro Giusto
5. No.16 - Danse Du Corps De Ballet Et Des Nains: Moderato Assai - Allegro Vivo
6. No.17 - Scene: Sortie Des Invites Et Valse: Allegro - Tempo Di Valse
7. No.18 - Scene: Allegro - Allegro Giusto
8. I: Intrada: Moderato Assai
9. II: Variation I: Allegro
10. III: Variation II: Andante Con Moto
See all 29 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Philadelphia Orchestra
  • Conductor: Wolfgang Sawallisch
  • Composer: Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky
  • Audio CD (June 1, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B0000CE7H1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,218 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Rudy Avila on August 6, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake remains a ballet favorite and a powerful star vehicle for the prima ballerina who must dance the roles of two characters- the "white swan" Odette and the black swan Odile, good and evil. Swan Lake has been recorded many times by celebrated conductors and their orchestras - Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra (here it's Wolfgang Sawallisch and the same orchestra from an earlier period) Canadian Charles Dutroit and the Montreal forces, Seiji Ozawa, Andre Previn and the London Symphony Orchestra, Richard Bonynge better known for his operatic vehicles with his wife Joan Sutherland, Antal Dorati and his orchestra, and even Herbert Von Karajan joined the band wagon of conducting great ballets- he conducted the complete Giselle and a concert suite of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Nutcracker.

Wolfgang Sawallisch was a brilliant conductor, and unfortunately like so many conductors in Karajan's time, he was underappreciated. This Swan Lake is beautifully restored and sounds fresh, powerful and lyrical. The music for Swan Lake has symphonic qualities, with a contrast of serene and jovial dances and melancholy and even fatalistic themes. The Dance of the Little Swans is bouncy and cheery, the violin solos for Odette's solo dances are almost mournful (she's mourning her swan condition/curse) and the Swan Theme is powerful and stormy, borrowed from the last notes to a Wagner's Lohengrin prelude. For these reasons critics did not initially warm up to the "heavy" music of Swan Lake. But eventually it became the most beautiful of the "ballet-blancs" ever made. Other "white tutu" ballets include Giselle (Act 2 the Willis) and La Bayadere (Act 2 The Land of Shades). The music is to die for in this recording and I highly recommend it.
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67 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 21, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This Swan Lake, now offered at super-bargain price, was one of Sawallisch's better ventures in Philadelphia. The orchestra is superlative, the recorded sound quite good, and Sawallishc's conducting fairly spirited. He is by nature a foursquare interpreter, so this Swan Lake doesn't dance as lightly or vivaciously as it might. Even so, I can see why someone would be enthusiastic about it.

There's lots of competition in the bargain range, however. In fact, front-line versions are often low priced, including Ozawa with the BSO on DG and Ansermet with his Suisse Romande orchestra on Decca. I would say that the overly refined Ozawa ranks about equal with Sawallisch, and the Boston Sym. certainly plays exquisitely. Dorati with Minneapolis on Mercury is more balletic, but his set is in mono and the orchestra suonds scrappy next to great ensembles like the Philadelphians (the price of the Dorati is higher, too).

Andre Previn gives a solid, middle-of-the-road reading on EMI with the London Sym., and he is never as dull as Slatkin on RCA with the St. Louis Sym., another bargain release that rarely gets off the ground--strange, since this is easy music to conduct if you have a lively beat.

I own or have heard all of them, and the most stylish and exciting is the Ansermet set, offered on a Decca two-fer that needs remastering to take off the digital edge but is otherwise an outstanding example of ballet conducting at its best. By comparison, the glossy Sawallisch reading is conventional and earthbound.

P.S. Dec. 2007 - After writing this review I rane across a lively, robust reading from Viktor Fedotov and the Mariinsky Orch. which outdoes all the above recommendations. It competes nicely with the new Gergiev reading with the same orchestra, labeled as Kirov, on Decca.
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74 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Charles Emmett on August 26, 2004
Format: Audio CD
If you have read any of my reviews you know that I am a Philadelphia Orchestra worshiper. Well this recording will show anyone why. I have always owned and listened to ( in fact just receive a wonderful recording with Muti and the PO of suites from San Lake and Sleeping Beauty)recorded suites where only the dramatic parts are performed with symphonic gusto.

This was a recording of the ballet! I had never heard a complete performance before. I know that there have to be beautiful recordings out there of this work, but hearing the Philadelphia Orchestra in all its power and glory was astonishing.

The remastering is so beautiful. You are there. You just don't hear the patter of footsteps from the dancers, but I was imagining it as I listened.

The performance is joyous when called for, trajic and powerfully so and, above all, majestice in the end. The strings in their polished sheeny glory and the brass-wow! I almost thought that I was listening to the Dresden Statskapelle brass section all over again.

I could go on and on and write about every dance and movement, but just let me say that this recording, for any Tchaikovsky lover, and music lover who wants to build their library or starting an adventure into classical music, is an absolute must!

Get it!! You wont be sorry.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By S. Vinokurov on August 31, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Love the CD (it has two rare favs of mine... the faster Black Swan Variation and the extended Russian Dance) however, I was shocked not to find Black Swan Pas de Deux. How can you have a COMPLETE Swan Lake recording and not include that?!?!?!
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