Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (07.05.1840 – 06.11.1893) was a Russian composer of the romantic period, some of whose works are among the most popular music in the classical repertoire. Particularly noteworthy are his Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23, his Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, his 1812 Overture, Op. 49 (complete with canon fire!), his Symphonies No. 5 & 6 and his ballets The Nutcracker, Op. 71 and Swan Lake, Op. 20.
Swan Lake is now one of the most popular of all ballets beloved for its superb dancing, beautiful sets and Tchaikovsky’s glorious music. There are many very pleasing recordings of this work including a recent release from Vladimir Jurowski on the Pentatone label and a bargain priced release of André Previn conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in 1976. However our favoured version is Charles Dutoit’s superb 1991 recording in the amazing acoustic of L’Eglise de St. Eustache, Montreal where he conducted the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
Those readers who wish to view the ballet, rather than just enjoy the music, need look no further than the DVD of Dame Margot Fonteyn & Rudolf Nureyev with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra & the Vienna State Opera ballet conducted by that master of ballet music, John Lanchbery.