Le Lac des Cygnes: Act I, Scene 1

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Peter I. Tchaikovsky

Peter I Tchaikovsky (trans. Jacco Nefs)

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General Info

Year: 1876 / 2014
Duration: c. 3:45
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Jacco Nefs
Cost: Score and Parts - $100.00


Full Score
Solo Flute
C Piccolo
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet Solo-I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion, including:

(percussion detail desired)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Swan Lake, Op. 20, is a ballet composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1875–76. Despite its initial failure, it is now one of the most popular of all ballets.

The scenario, initially in two acts, was fashioned from Russian and German folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse. The ballet was premiered by the Bolshoi Ballet on 4 March [O.S. 20 February] 1877 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

In Act I, set in a magnificent park before a palace, Prince Siegfried is celebrating his birthday with his tutor, friends and peasants. The revelries are interrupted by Siegfried's mother, the Queen, who is concerned about her son's carefree lifestyle. She tells him that he must choose a bride at the royal ball the following evening. Siegfried is upset that he cannot marry for love. His friend Benno and the tutor try to lift his troubled mood. As evening falls, Benno sees a flock of swans flying overhead and suggests they go on a hunt. Siegfried and his friends take their crossbows and set off in pursuit of the swans.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

In the late 19th century, ballet scores were mostly written by specialists. These specialists -- names like Léo Delibes of Lakmé’s Flower Duet fame, and Adolphe Adam of O Holy Night fame -- were synonymous with beautiful, recognizable, and seemingly endless melodies. They were also frequently derided as basic. It wasn’t until receiving a commission from the Moscow Imperial Theatre in 1875 that Tchaikovsky began studying the work of these specialists and changed his mind. “I listened to the Delibes ballet Sylvia,” he wrote to protege Sergei Tanayev. “...what charm, what elegance, what wealth of melody, rhythm, and harmony. I was ashamed, for if I had known of this music then, I would not have written Swan Lake.”

He completed Swan Lake in a matter of months, telling a story whose origins are still unclear, of a princess who is turned into a swan by an evil curse. At its premiere, critics complained that the music was “too noisy, too ‘Wagnerian,’ and too symphonic,” but the work has stood the test of time to be one of the most frequently produced ballets of all time.

- Program Note from University of Texas Wind Symphony concert program, 15 November 2023


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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