Here is a true delight for all ballet fans and music-lovers. This recording of what is probably Tchaikovsky’s most popular ballet, Swan Lake, by Ernest Ansermet and his orchestra in a masterly performance is now available as a new pressing in vinyl. The Russian composer’s first ballet is offered here on a double LP and although not a complete recording, this compilation (with a minimum of cuts) certainly comprises the most beautiful and expressive scenes, losing nothing in the process.
“Ballet specialist“ Ansermet and his wonderfully balanced Orchestre de la Suisse Romande offer here a recording which you’ll want to hear again and again for it captures both the tragic moments of the fairy tale and the festive dance scenes. The precise winds in, for example No. 4, provide a marked contrast to the lively and exciting tutti (No. 5), while the gentle woodwinds blend charmingly with the dreamlike cantilena of the strings (No. 11). The various characteristics of the festive national dances (Polkas, Mazurkas, Hungarian Dance etc.) are performed with temperament, verve and rhythm, but it is the waltzes with their sweet dreaminess which invite the listener most of all to put on their dancing shoes and join in the dance.
Recording: October/November 1958 at Victoria Hall, Geneva by Roy Wallace / Production: James Walker