Piano Transcriptions of Russian Ballet Music

Russian ballet music of the late 19th century and the Soviet period has gained much popularity in ballet houses throughout the world.  The characteristic charm, energy and rhythmic drive of the Russian ballet music was matched by unparalleled mastery of the Russian dancers.  Choreographers George Balanchine and Vaslav Nijinsky took the art of ballet to a new direction: inspired by the bold and innovative music of the great Russian composers, they created masterpieces which translated the beauty of music into dance.

The incredible variety of registers and colors that are possible to produce on the piano allowed composers and pianists to recreate the richness of ballet orchestral scores on this instrument.  Just as the motions of the human body are capable of expressing the emotions of music, the piano (and pianist – as if a ballet dancer) is capable of reproducing both the story and the music of the ballet, replacing a full size orchestra.  Piano transcriptions of Russian ballet music demonstrate the wonderful potential of the instrument and give a chance to modern pianists to fully display their technique in a new genre.


Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)

Berceuse and Finale from “Firebird”
Arranged by Guido Agosti