Samuel Lawton has again done a masterful job in his performance of The Swan by Tchaikovsky. After our recent session recording 6 wedding processionals, Samuel commented that his favorite performance of all was The Swan, and he hoped I would leave it as a violin/piano arrangement without any further instrumental additions, which I have honored.
Swan Lake was Tchaikovsky’s first ballet, originally performed in 1877, the writing being commissioned by the Bolshoi Ballet. In terms of audience appeal, it may be considered the most famous ballet ever written. He is also well known as the composer of The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty.
On his Russian heritage, he once spoke of being “saturated with the miraculous beauty of Russian folk song.” He was a contemporary of the “Russian Five” – Modest Mussorgsky, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Balakirev, Aleksandr Borodin, and César Cui, but he fraternized more with the Rubenstein brothers, Anton and Nikolai.
A curious anecdote: he was known to beg that the playing of certain compositions be stopped, the rapturous beauty being more than he could withstand. On a personal note, the author is reminded of music that his wife refers to as “so beautiful it hurts.”
Though Tchaikovsky has not composed many wedding ceremony pieces, The Swan makes an excellent wedding processional, perhaps more fitting for bridesmaids than bride, and is on our “Processionals for Brides and Bridesmaids” album.