If, like me, you've despaired when landing yet another `manuscript' version of Tchaikovsky's magnificent score - lovely, but longwinded - then don't. A sticker on the front proclaims `Complete Score', but as we're going to see, that's not strictly true.
Finally, FINALLY, someone has had the sense to record the `official' version, as we hear/see Swan Lake live, on stage, complete with delicious interpolations: piano pieces orchestrated to create Odile's sparkling solo, that beguiling Swan Valse from the final act (`Valse Bluette'), and the romantic reconciliation theme for Odette and her Prince. Whole chunks have been moved around to create the version we know and love (famously the Act 1 'Pas de Deux', becomes the `Black Swan Pas de Deux' in Act 3, for example).
Favourites, such as the `Czardas', is well-judged. There are lots of cuts, but as most, if not all, the full-length versions out there, are the exhaustive accounts, it's not a problem. (Previn's rousing 'Scene Finale', for instance, has to be heard to be believed. I go cold every time I hear it). So why not have both?
I have spent *decades* trying to track down just such a recording as this (Gergiev: excellent. Well, he would be - he's conducted this very ballet for some of the finest dancers in the world). 'Til now, I've had to make do with tantalising excerpts (Bonynge), or crackly snippets of those enticing `missing bits' on old LP's. I even had my poor brother rig up my old tape deck to the vcr to record such a score from a ballet video(!) - yes, it was that long ago, and I was that desperate! When I saw the track listing for this particular recording, my eyes came out like marbles!
If anyone is acquainted with Mr Gergiev, give him a hug, please. And tell him "Bravo! You've made dance fans everywhere very happy!!"
**NB: Some list this recording as `live', but the sticker on the front shouts `studio recording'. Sounds great, by the way. The little accompanying booklet is very informative. Great pictures, too. It's been was a long wait. But worth it.