We’re excited to announce that the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s new album Sleeping Beauty is released today on Sony Classical. The recording sees Kristjan Järvi conducting the orchestra in his own arrangement of Tchaikovksy’s fairytale ballet. Condensing and transforming the near three-hour score into a dramatic symphony of around 70 minutes, Kristjan gives new life to this most iconic of theatre music compositions. He believes that masterworks such as Sleeping Beauty have lost some of their appeal in the theatre world with the evolution of technology, and says: ‘Great music will always remain great music, but it constantly needs to be updated and modernised, not only interpreted. Making a dramatic symphony from a ballet is a step in this direction of constant reinvention.’
The new album is the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s third release with Kristjan for Sony, following 2016’s The Ring: An Orchestral Adventure, and their recording of Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto featuring David Nebel which was released in May 2020. Ahead of the full album release, Sony separately released three singles from Sleeping Beauty: ‘Pas d’Action: Desiré sees Aurora’, ‘Garland Waltz’ and ‘The Blue Bird and Princess Florine’. For each single, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan have released a music video – see below and enjoy watching.
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Reawakening the Sleeping Beauty story
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan recorded Sleeping Beauty in March 2019 at Dom Radio in
St. Petersburg, at the end of their ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Russia. On the tour, the musicians had performed Kristjan’s arrangement entirely from memory, and playing the score by heart transformed them into storytellers who felt like they were telling the fairytale for the first time. ‘Performing from memory changed our relationship with Tchaikovsky’s music,’ says principal violist Marzena Malinowska from Poland. ‘When you’re playing ballets and operas in an orchestra you’re usually hidden in the pit, and the stars of the show are the dancers or singers, who are responsible for telling the story and making it strong. We knew it was our responsibility to be the storytellers.’
Marzena helped herself and other musicians to memorise the score by adding titles for the untitled sections in Kristjan’s adaptation, sourcing the titles from the original fairytale but mostly from the ballet itself. ‘I knew I needed to make more connections and signposts in the score to be able to memorise the music,’ she says. ‘Adding in the names of dances, or of the other fairytale characters from Act III, helped complete the picture in my mind, and gave me a route to follow.’
Find out more about Sleeping Beauty in our online storyboard here