Guest post by Ginger Pullen
Sergei Prokofiev’s Scenes from the Ballet Cinderella, arranged by David Arthur, will be featured on the Wellington Winds’ upcoming concert Concerto for Wind Ensemble on April 19 and April 26.
The Wellington Winds is very excited about performing this piece. It is one of the world’s most beloved ballets, and is arranged by our very own David Arthur, a retired music teacher, and tuba player in the group!
The story of Cinderella is, of course, an incredibly popular folk tale. Virtually everyone knows and loves many versions of it, such as that by the Brothers Grimm, by Walt Disney, and Broadway musicals, (e.g., Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods). It seems that the story is never out of our minds: as I write today there is much talk about Kenneth Branagh’s current film of the same title.
Not surprisingly, classical composers have also been inspired to set the story in both opera and ballet form. These include Gioacchino Rossini, Jules Massenet, Peter Maxwell Davies, Gustav Holst and of course Sergei Prokofiev, our featured composer.
Prokofiev, a Russian composer, followed his successful ballet Romeo and Juliet by composing music for the ballet Cinderella, completing it in 1944. Rather than using contemporary elements, he wrote this music in the 19th century style of the Tchaikovsky ballets: there are many set pieces for minor characters and also many older dance forms such as the gavotte, the bourrée, the mazurka, the passepied, and the waltz. He interrupted his work on this ballet to compose the opera War and Peace, no doubt to coincide with the tumultuous years of the Second World War.
Cinderella was first performed at the Bolshoi Theater in November of 1945. It featured choreography by Rostislav Zakharov. Galina Ulanova danced the title role. There are many noteworthy selections in this ballet. Some of Arthur’s choices are the hauntingly beautiful Cinderella, Ill-Treated but Radiant in Love, the humorous Shawl Dance, the lovely but somehow surreal waltz Cinderella and the Prince Fall in Love, the impendingly urgent The Clock Strikes Midnight – The Spell is Over, and the exuberant Amoroso: Cinderella and the Prince Live Happily Ever After.
Dave Arthur considers this one of his most ambitious arrangements, but we consider it one of his most successful! Dave’s work is available at his website, DavArt Music.
Please join us for this, our season’s grand finale.