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'La Sylphide is one of the classic themes of romantic ballet, a story of a Scotsman enticed away from his wedding celebrations by a winged spirit (the Sylphide). Down another line it has survived as a classic in its own right, the latter being that of great choreographer Auguste Bournonville, who saw the work in Paris and then produced his own version in Copenhagen in 1836. This has remained in the repertory of the Royal Danish Ballet ever since, and I remember enjoying a televised showing of their production a few years back.
The original Parisian version had music by Schneitzhoeffer, which has been revived on occasions since. However, Bournonville commissioned a new score from Herman Severin Lovenskiold (1815-70), a young Norwegian of aristocratic background. It is only the enduring popularity of the Bournonville version that has served to keep Lovenskiold's name alive, for he produced nothing else of note and died virtually forgotten. His work uses the standard conventions of the time, but it is a score into which the composer put a lot of effort, incorporating a prominent solo violin part for the music of the Sylphide.

1 Overture
2 I Introduction
3 II Effy's entrance
4 III James - Effy - the Witch - the Fortune-Teller scene
5 IV James and the Sylphide - the window scene
6 V Arrival of the Guests - Pas d'Ecossaise
7 VI Pas de Deux - Reel
8 VII Finale
9 I The Witch scene
10 II James and the Sylphide - the forest scene
11 III The Sylphide calls the Sylphs
12 IV The Sylph scene - Divertissement
13 V James chasing the Sylphide
14 VI Gurn - the Witch - Effy
15 VII James and the Witch - the scarf
16 VIII Finale
17 Pas de Deux

"This is, I believe, the most extended recording of the score, involving the inclusion of an extra pas de deux as an appendix. Performance and recorded sound alike are excellent."

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  • Seller location: Lower Hutt City, Wellington, NZ

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