Compact Discoveriesģ
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, written, hosted, and edited
by Fred Flaxman

©2014 by Fred Flaxman


Program 236
"Don Quixote: The Ballet"

MUSIC: excerpt from Ludwig Minkus: Don Quixote, performed by the Elizabethan Trust Melbourne Orchestra conducted by John Lanchbery [Warner Classics 50999 6 48640 2 0, Track 16]  [over the following]

Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. Iím your guide, Fred Flaxman. I recently devoted an hour to well-known music inspired by Miguel de Cervantesís novel Don Quixote, followed by an hour devoted to lesser-known music inspired by this famous fictional character. Stay with me for the next hour and Iíll complete this trilogy of programs with ďDon Quixote: the Ballet.Ē

MUSIC: fades out

The ballet is by Ludwig Minkus, who was born in Vienna in 1826, but who gained fame in Russia with his ballet scores in the 1860s and Ď70s.  In Don Quixote, a romantic young couple outshine the doleful Spanish knight. Minkus's music is some of the most performed in all of ballet, and is an integral part of the traditional classical ballet repertory.

Minkusís father was born in Moravia in what is now the Czech Republic, and his mother was born in Hungary. They were Jewish but converted to Catholicism not long before their relocation to Vienna, and were married on the following day.

Ludwig Minkus emigrated to St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1853 to serve as conductor of the Serf orchestra of Prince Nikolai Yusupov.
Arthur Saint-Lťon, who at the time was one of the most celebrated ballet masters in Europe, commissioned Minkusís first score for a full-length grand ballet. It was a great success and the beginning of a close collaboration between the two men.

Through his association with Saint-Lťon and the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet, Minkus came to the attention of the renowned choreographer Marius Petipa. Petipa staged a grand ballet on the subject of Cervantes's Don Quixote for the Moscow Imperial Bolshoi Theatre's 1869Ė1870 season. Although plans had been made to have a score supplied by another composer, Petipa instead turned to Minkus, who supplied music filled with a great variety of Spanish-styled flair. The premiere of Petipa's Don Quixote was a resounding success.

The Warner Classics recording we are going to hear was made as the soundtrack for a 1973 film of the revised version of the ballet that Rudolf Nureyev made for the Australian Ballet. In this CD, John Lanchbery conducts the Elizabethan Trust Melbourne Orchestra in highlights from the ballet.

MUSIC: excerpts from Ludwig Minkus: Don Quixote, performed by the Elizabethan Trust Melbourne Orchestra conducted by John Lanchbery [Warner Classics 50999 6 48640 2 0, Tracks 1-19]

Excerpts from Ludwig Minkusís Don Quixote, performed by the Elizabethan Trust Melbourne Orchestra conducted by John Lanchbery.

And that concludes this hour of ballet music inspired by the most famous Spanish novel ever written, Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. If you missed part of the program or would like to hear it again, you can stream it on demand at compactdiscoveries.com. This is program number 236. And this is your guide to Compact Discoveries, Fred Flaxman, thanking you for listening.

ANNOUNCER (Tana Flaxman): Compact Discoveries is made possible in part by an anonymous donor from Palm Beach, Florida. And by the financial support of Isabel and Marvin Leibowitz, Art and Eva Stevens, and ArkivMusic dot com, the online store for classical music CDs, DVDs, downloads, and over 10,000 on-demand reissued titles. Thatís A-r-k-i-v Music dot com.

Program Ends at 59:00