Tchaikovsky's Ballets: Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker

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Tchaikovsky's Ballets combines a detailed and thorough analysis of the music of Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and Nutcracker with descriptions of the first productions of these works in Imperial Russia. A background chapter on the ballet audience, the collaboration of composer and balletmaster, and Moscow of the 1860's leads into an account of the first production of Swan Lake in 1877. A discussion of theater reforms initiated by the Director of the Imperial Theaters prepares the reader for a study of the still-famous 1890 St. Petersburg production of Sleeping Beauty. Wiley then explains how the Nutcracker, produced just two years after Sleeping Beauty, was seen in a much less favorable light than it is now. Separate chapters are devoted to the music of each ballet and translations of published libretti, choreographer's instructions to the composer, and the balletmaster's plans for Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker are reproduced in appendices.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Wiley's analysis of the musical background of the choreography of the Tchaikosvky-Petipa ballets is fascinating....I find it refreshing to read a musicologist's view, rather than a dance historian's, because of the minute analysis it offers of how the music itself influences the choreography."--Deborah Jowitt, Lingua Franca

"Wiley is thoroughly conversant with the large Russian literature on Tchaikovsky's ballets. It will be one of the book's important contributions that it introduces Western readers to this material and offers a critical assessment of it....An important and pioneering work. He articulates an approach to the study of a composite work of art that is seldom pursued in musicological research on ballet....The scope of documented information alone will make his book indispensable for scholars, performers, and ballet lovers alike."--Journal of the American Musicological Society

"[Wiley's] evaluations of Chaikovskii's music, illuminating the master's musical innovations, and his comprehensive history of each ballet, tracing the ballets' origins, composition, and first productions, will delight music-lovers and balletomanes alike....Wiley's penetrating musical analyses of each ballet...give rare insight into Chaikovskii's musical genius often overlooked in studies of his ballet music....Eschewing ideology, Wiley far exceeds his Soviet counterparts with his comprehensive and significant analyses....[His] substantial and engrossing reassessments of these monuments of Russian ballet establish them as great artistic and musical achievements."--Slavic Review

"Wiley has dug deep into the Russian archives, scrutinizing not only books and contemporary newspapers, but every manuscript source he could uncover....Yet Wiley has not given us a dull, austere treatise; there is plenty of humanity and local color in his descriptions of the ballet audience in nineteenth-century Russia...we should be grateful that he has brought us that much closer to an understanding of these three extraordinary highlights of our dance heritage."--Dance Research Journal

"An authoritative, important, useful book on dance, based on primary source materials, meticulously researched, and intelligently presented....Tchaikovsky's Ballets inevitably forces us to reassess our views...and Tchaikovsky must be recognized as the virtual creator of modern ballet."--New Criterion

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198162490
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/1991
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 456
  • Product dimensions: 6.19 (w) x 9.19 (h) x 1.27 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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