Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky’s Ballet Masterpieces and the Allure of His Enchanting Waltzes

ByQuyen Anne

Aug 2, 2023

Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky wrote some of the most beautiful waltzes, three of them in particular in each of his ballets.

In Swan Lake, his first ballet, the music that is now unanimous was one of the most controversial parts and said, at the time, as impossible to dance. After its premiere in 1877, it was forgotten until the composer’s death, when it gained the popularity it has today. The version we know is far from the first and little is known about it, including the musical order.

However, after the sinister and sad introduction, the ballet opens with one of the most beautiful waltzes written to date, with different movements that yield beautiful choreography. It starts off slow, and smooth, and the strings in pianissimo, gaining rhythm and strength. No wonder it is one of the most famous melodies written by Tchaikovsky.

In ballet, the waltz often has a solo moment for Prince Siegfried, who is celebrating his birthday with his subjects. That’s how the theme is a beautiful version of the Bolshoi Ballet.

Thirteen years after the failure of Swan Lake, the composer accepted the challenge of writing Sleeping Beauty, one of his greatest successes. The ballet was tailor-made for Marius Petipa, including the tempo of the pieces, leaving Tchaikovsky with the melodies and orchestration.

One of the most famous melodies of Sleeping Beauty is the waltz of the 1st act, danced by peasant women with garlands of flowers.

The melody is so famous and striking that it became Princess Aurora’s love theme in the Disney classic, called Once Upon a Dream.

And one of the most beautiful is part of his last ballet, The Nutcracker. In the 2nd act, before the Sugar Fairy’s pas de deux. Critics say the Waltz of Flowers has a rare degree of sophistication for the musical style, thanks to Tchaikovsky’s symphonic training, which adds much more than an accompaniment and eternalizes easy-to-hum melodies.

The flowers enter to the sound of the Harp before the main melody enters and envelops us. The person who best captured the beauty of Waltz of Flowers was George Balanchine, emphasizing notes in his steps that we would not have noticed had it not been for the dance. The main solo, one of the most difficult in his repertoire, was created on top by the talented Tanaquil LeClercq, who would later become his wife. See how beautiful below, I doubt you don’t want to dance!

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