1888: Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty

SATURDAY, June 6, 2020

Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty, age 48

Instrumentation:

  • piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets (in A, B-flat), 2 bassoons
  • 4 horns (in F), 2 cornets (in A, B-flat), 2 trumpets (in A, B-flat), 3 trombones, tuba
  • 4 timpani, triangle, tambourine, military drum, cymbals, bass drum, tam tam, glockenspiel
  • piano, harp
  • strings

Tchaikovksy’s ballet was immensely successful, and for a change he was enthusiastic about writing it and then did not change his mind about his work. He had in mind to write a suite, but this suite we have today is, as far as I can tell, something that was put together by someone else. I’ll research this later, but the whole ballet is well over two hours long, while this suite is around 23 minutes long. So when you research this, you will find:

Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66, which is the whole ballet, and Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op. 66a, which is what I’m starting with here. It was written in 1888.

This recording by Karajan seems to be quite good, so I’ll start with it until I find something else equally good.

I had a set of little 45 records when I was barely more than toddler, and it told the whole story along with this music.

 

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