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TCHAIKOVSKY: Ballet Suites (Transcriptions for Piano 4 Hands)

Composer(s):Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Il'yich
Artist(s) Aurora Duo, Ensemble
Period(s) Romantic
Genre Classical Music
Category Chamber MusicInstrumental
Catalogue 8.570418
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

It is astonishing to recall that five years after the première of Swan Lake, one of the greatest of all Russian ballets, and of Tchaikovsky’s three full-length ballets the one with the greatest number of memorable tunes, the composer wrote to his editor: “To save this music from sinking into oblivion, I would like to make it into a concert suite modelled on Delibes… published both as a symphonic score and as a transcription for four hands.” The original transcription by the pianist Eduard Langer is heard on this recording with piano duet versions of concert suites from The Sleeping Beauty, commissioned from Rachmaninov and Ziloti, though later corrected by the composer himself, and from The Nutcracker, transcribed by Stepan


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Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

Considering how much it depends on orchestral colour, it is a astonishing how well Tchaikovsky’s ballet music comes off in piano-duet form, if the players are sympathetic and stylish. And the members of the Aurora Duo (Julia Severuss and Alina Luschtschizkaja) most certainly are both. In the Sleeping Beauty the cat duet is deliciously pictorialized and the gorgeous Panorama is beautifully poised over its gently rocking bass. The baby swans dance very daintily, and in the Nutcracker the duo’s crisp articulation in the Miniature Overture, Marche and Chinese Dance is perfectly precise, while the Sugar Plum Fairy enters to a timbre very like a celeste. Very good, clear recording too. Most enjoyable.

Review By Giv Cornfield,The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics,February 2008

Following the great sucess of his balletic masterpieces, the depressive Tchaikovsky, fearing that his music should fall into oblivion, prevailed upon his publisher to arrange for these transciptions. They were executed by several pianists including Rachmaninov and Siloti, and edited by the composer. As music for piano four-hands, they stand up well—if only one could divorce one’s mind from playing the orchestral versions alongside.

Review By Frank Behrens,Brattleboro Reformer,January 2008

Tchaikovsky—Possibly the three most frequently performed ballets are all by Tchaikovsky: “Sleeping Beauty,” “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker.”

Having heard so many recordings of the complete scores and of the suites, I had reached the saturation point—until a Naxos CD came my way, titled “Ballet Suites (Transcriptions for Piano Four Hands).” Loving piano transcriptions of orchestral works as I do, I eagerly played it and was delighted.


Review By David Denton, Naxos,January 2008

The provenance of these versions of Tchaikovsky’s ballet suites is authentic, the orchestral parts arranged for four hands at one piano having the composer’s blessing. In the case of Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake the composer was much involved with the finished product, engaging none other than the young Rachmaninov to undertake the Sleeping Beauty transcription. At the time they would have given the composer considerable sales of sheet music for domestic consumption, as most of the music is well within the orbit of talented amateurs. You could well imagine the fun such pianists would have had, particularly if they had seen the ballet first. That was all before the age of radio and recordings when the only way to repeat your favourite music was



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