Cinderella

Tchaikovsky Research
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Cinderella (Сандрильона) (TH 209 ; ČW 465) [1], was to have been Tchaikovsky's first ballet score. However, for reasons which remain unknown, the project came to a halt shortly after it was begun in the autumn of 1870.

"Just imagine", Tchaikovsky wrote to his brother Modest on 5/17 October 1870, "that I've undertaken to write the music for a ballet Cinderella, and that this vast four-act score must be ready by the middle of December! [O.S.]" [2]. The same information was conveyed in a letter to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, in which the composer added: "... since I have concluded an agreement, I can't go back on my word, although there are only two months remaining, and I've only just started" [3].

Yet there are no further references to the ballet, and no musical sketches have come to light. It is likely that Tchaikovsky’s involvement in the project fell through because he was unable to fulfil his commission in such a limited time [4].

It is only known that a year later, on 4/16 October 1871, the Board of the Imperial Theatres in Moscow planned to stage the ballet The Magic Shoe, or Cinderella, and approached the Leipzig ballet-master Julius Reisinger to do the choreography, "composed to music for this new ballet commissioned from Mr Gerber" [5]. However, the music for the ballet in 5 acts and 13 scenes was eventually provided not by Yury Gerber, but instead by the German composer Wilhelm Carl Mühldorfer, to a libretto fashioned by Karl Valts. The first production took place on 14/26 December 1871.

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