Not what I thought it was

The renaissance of my interest in ballet has, while not quite keeping pace with that of opera, at least continued up to now and shows no sign of abating.  I suspect that, having discovered an appreciation of both of these art forms I’ll continue to enjoy them for the rest of my life (although perhaps not always amongst my main active interests).

A few months ago I got hold of a CD of music by French composer Léo Delibes.  He was most notable as a composer of ballets, operas and other works for the stage and this CD contained ballet suites from Sylvia and Coppélia, a couple of arias (one of them the famous “Flower duet”) from his most popular opera, Lakmé, and a subset of a set of dance airs entitled Le Roi s’amuse.  It also contained a suprise…

When I came to play the CD I instantly recognised one of the pieces from Sylvia – a number entitled Pizzicati (it seems to be referred to sometimes as Pizzicato but as far as I can gather, the plural form is correct).  The basic tune, at least, is one with which I’ve been familiar from early childhood and I think is one that gets used quite often for adverts and suchlike.

The surprise was that I was sure that this piece was part of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and, if asked, would probably have guessed it was either the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy or (more likely) Danse des Mirlitons, despite having played both of those a few years ago in a performance of the Nutcracker Suite and therefore, in theory, knowing fairly well how they go.

I was intending to write about this when I first discovered the identity of the mystery piece, but didn’t get round to it.  I was reminded of my intention while listening to the Sylvia suite again this morning.

[Incidentally, for anyone who’s paying attention to the categorisation of posts on this blog, I’m aware that this one is really more music-related than dancing-related but I thought that the latter category was feeling a bit neglected.]

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