the most famous work from the great
Spanish novelist Miguel Cervantes, has
inspired several musical compositions.
This Naxos double set contains the original
three act ballet, Don Quixote,
from the pen of composer Léon
Minkus. This work has remained a perennial
favourite of the ballet repertoire.
had a long and successful career spending
many years in Russia during much of
which he was engaged in writing ballets
for the Imperial Russian Court. As chief
ballet master of the Russian Imperial
Ballet the great French choreographer
Marius Petipa was instructed to produce
a major new work for the Bolshoi Theatre
in Moscow. Minkus collaborated with
Petipa and the work was premièred
in 1869. Minkus was commissioned in
1871 to write additional material with
the intention of expand the ballet along
more formal lines into five acts for
a more lavish production in St. Petersburg.
Minkus, like all ballet
composers of his day, didn’t write his
ballet music for orchestral display.
Ballets then were choreography-led for
the purpose of showing-off the dancers,
adhering to the strict instructions
of time, tempo and the drama of the
scenes. It was only with the appearance
on the scene of composers such as Delibes
and Tchaikovsky that the symphonic resources
of the orchestra were directed into
original music for the dance.
I know that the Sofia
National Opera Orchestra has recorded
this ballet at least once previously
and their experience has served them
well. Under the direction of Bulgarian
conductor Nayden Todorov the orchestra
respond with characterful application
throughout, with warmth and a decent
amount of drama. There was a sense however
that conductor and orchestra were keeping
some energy in reserve.
The recorded sound
is more than acceptable and the concise
but interesting annotation is adequate.
A fairly enjoyable performance decently
recorded. I’m sure that ballet lovers
will want to own this recording.
This recording was more enthusiastically
received by Patrick