For lovers of ballet music, this superb 5-disc set contains some of the greatest ballet music ever written. Tchaikovsky’s three great ballets – Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker – need no introduction.They contain not only some of the composer’s greatest music, but some of the most famous music ever composed.
Heard on this disc are the popular orchestral suites that have made Tchaikovsky’s ballet music a staple of the concert hall, from the enchanting theme from Swan Lake to the charming ‘Ouverture miniature’ and ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ from The Nutcracker.
Khachaturian’s two ballets have also become great orchestral favourites – the famous Adagio from Spartacus even entered the UK top 10 singles chart. Featured on the second disc of this set are excerpts from Spartacus and Gayaneh, including the fiery ‘Sabre Dance’, as well as Khachaturian’s incidental music for Mikhail Lermontov’s play Masquerade.
The graceful and charming ballet music of Léo Delibes is represented on the third disc, in suites from Sylvia and Coppélia, alongside the dances written to accompany Victor Hugo’s play Le roi s’amuse and two extremely popular songs from the opera Lakmé – the ‘Flower Duet’ and ‘Bell Song’. On the fourth disc, the ballet music from Adolphe Adam’s Giselle is featured, the dramatic story of death through dancing. The collection concludes with the ballets from Massenet’s operas Le Cid, Cendrillon and Thaïs. This captivating exploration of 19th- and 20thcentury ballet music, in which listeners will find popular favourites alongside new discoveries, is an ideal introduction to the world of ballet.