The Music of La Sylphide and Giselle

The score of La Sylphide was created by Schneitzhöffer, originally created for dancer Marie Taglioni. However, when Danish choreographer August Bournonville remade the ballet years later, he had composer Herman Severin Løvenskiold create a new score for him, due to the high royalty price of Schneitzhöffer’s original. The new score, while originally met with opposition, became Løvenskiold’s biggest success–no one could turn down the lovely melody of the score. It is now the oldest Romantic ballet score to still be performed. Adolphe Adam, too, saw success for his score for Giselle, becoming one of the most important works to come out of the Romantic period. However, as Giselle grew in popularity over the next century, alterations were needed to keep up with each choreographer’s changing dance steps. Instruments changed, as did speed and the notes themselves. Even today the original score faces alterations to keep up with changing times of new eras of culture and ballet, proving how believed the ballet itself is.

Kelsey Haywood

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One thought on “The Music of La Sylphide and Giselle

  1. I think this is extremely interesting- it shows that ballets themselves are not necessarily just works of art- but also a business. As with the majority of professions,even in the fine arts, people are always focused on an income. The original score of Giselle could have been donated by Schneitzhöffer, but the royalty price was too high. I find it interesting because if I composed for a ballet, I wouldn’t try to do it as a business, but rather as a donation for the sake of art.

    Mariah Bartelmez

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