Talk:Swan Lake (ballet), Op.20 (Tchaikovsky, Pyotr)

Versions of Swan Lake

The only version actually created by the composer was version A (the 1877 score). It was the only version for which a full score was ever published. The 1895 Jurgenson score (reprinted by Broude, Elibron, and others) was actually Tchaikovsky's 1877 score, with Drigo's orchestrations of three piano pieces from Tchaikovsky's Op.72 added as an appendix. The 1895 version is really more of an arrangement than an edition. Many items from the original score were omitted altogether, others were cut, the numbers were re-ordered, and Drigo even composed some short connective passages. There is still some question about how much re-orchestrating was done by Drigo, but most authorities seem to think he pretty much left Tchaikovsky's actual orchestration alone (apart from the connective passages mentioned above). Hopefully, a manuscript full score and part of the 1895 version will eventually surface here - which will at least provide some tentative answers about the exact nature of Drigo's contributions. Carolus 06:01, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

However, Jurgenson's 1895 score includes the changes to the plot of the ballet introduced by Modest Tchaikovsky for the 1895 production, which is why it's listed as version "B". As you say, we don't know exactly what Drigo did with the music (other than introducing the Op.72 piano pieces), but it wasn't until the Soviet complete works edition in the 1950s that the score was published with Tchaikovsky's original directions.
Incidentally, it seems to have been Jurgenson's practice to allocate plate numbers when a work first appeared, and this may be the reason for some confusion over the plate number for the full score of Swan Lake, which by itself would suggest it dated from 1881, around the same time as Claude Debussy's arrangements of extracts for solo piano. All the Russian and Soviet sources agree that Jurgenson's full score was first issued in 1895, and this would fit with the inclusion of Modest's libretto from the production that year. Whether Jurgenson might have begun to engrave the full score back in 1881 is uncertain, but there's no evidence of it appearing before 1895, and it's not mentioned in the composer's correspondence. There are parallels with others of Tchaikovsky's works, e.g. the Concert Fantasia, Op.56, where the piano reduction appeared in 1884 with plate number 6539, but the full score (plate 6537) actually came out almost a decade later in 1893 — P.davydov 07:26, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

The 1895 Jurgenson score is not version "B" at all, but a slightly modified version "A". The sequence of numbers, number of measures, etc. are the same as in the the complete works score. The only differences are the addition of the three Drigo orchestrations (added in at the very end - and possibly only in a ca.1900 reissue), the new libretto at the beginning by Modest Tchaikovsky, and the presence of the notorious No.19a Pas de deux - partially reconstructed by Shebalin - in the Soviet score. The sequence of numbers was drastically changed around for the Drigo version and there were numerous cuts - none of which appear in the 1895 Jurgenson score. Jurgenson might have started engraving this score back in the 1880s in response to the partial performances given in Prague by Tchaikovsky and some communication from Vsevolovzhsky about doing the ballet in Petersburg but they apparently never offered anything for sale until the St. Petersburg premiere. The rearranged sequence does actually appear in Langer's piano reduction from around 1900, along with the cuts - so we do know what was done with the music itself, just not the orchestration. Jurgenson also issued a piano score to coincide with the Petersburg premiere for Petitpa and Drigo's new version along with the full score, but it was probably a slightly amended reissue of Kashkin's 1877 piano reduction (page 105 of Jurgenson's 1898 Tchaikovsky catalog only mentions the Kashkin arrangement, though it does mention the 640-page full score). They most likely (wisely - given the madness of ballet folks) waited a few years until the revised ballet was more-or-less finalized in the basic form it's known today before having Langer make the new piano reduction. Since the full score was expensive (75 rubles - a little over 1.5 ounces worth of gold using the Tzarist currency of the day), Jurgenson might not have wanted to bother having the revised version engraved (because of all the cuts, one couldn't create it by simply re-ordering the pages). This would especially be the case if Drigo didn't mess with the orchestration as one could simply mark all the needed cuts and flip back and forth the to right places to produce the correct sequence of numbers. Compare the Kashkin and Langer piano scores and you'll see exactly what I mean - Drigo and Petipa really did drastic surgery on the original 1877 score. I expect the editors of the complete works (justifiably) ignored the 1895 revision because was not done by the composer. Carolus 04:00, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Hi! If I may give my opinion on the topic, I don't think the 1895 revised score of Swan Lake should be considered as a version B of the original ballet score the same way Romeo and Juliet has different versions A, B and C, for example. The difference being that the 1895 score was not reworked and even less revised by the composer himself, so it should be considered as an arrangement. Tchaikovsky did approve of the orchestration of the three pieces from opus 72 before his death, but, who knows, he could have rejected all the other changes made by Drigo in the end... In mainstream media, they do talk about an 1895 Swan Lake version but it's imprecise and erroneous, I think it should be called an arrangement. For that's what it is; the score was arranged specifically for a revival. Have a nice day! Bryan P. C. C. 16:17, 31 August 2011 (UTC)


Full Score Version A/Act IV. No.28 Scène/Violin I part/5th & 6th bar/last note lacks ♭.