Études (ballet) – the sources for Riisager’s score

Etudes ballet music: beginning of the ronds de jambe en l'air music

Ronds de jambe, Op. 355 No. 1, one of the pieces used in the Études ballet music

A commenter who’d read one of my posts about my searches for the Czerny sources for Riisager’s ballet Etudes (see this post, too) asked if I’d ever made a list of those sources. I don’t know why I didn’t do it before – but with one gap that I hope I can fill in soon (the tarantella), here’s the list. Scroll to the end for notes on the numbering/naming of the Etudes ballet music, and links to free downloads of the Czerny scores.

[unnumbered] 1. Overture (Allegro molto): Op. 299, No. 9 (possibly a bit of  Op 740 No. 1 too)

Exercises à la barre

[1] 2. Moderato (Tendus, grands battements, fondus, frappés)

  • Op 261 No. 23 (C major, thirds)
  • Op 740 No 32 (C major, repeated notes)
  • Op 740 No. 12 (D minor, theme)
  • Op. 355 No. 9 (C major, dotted rhythms)

[2] 3. Molto leggiero e scherzando (Ronds de jambe) Op. 355 No. 1

[3] 4. Andante (Silhouette barre):  Op. 335 No. 37

Au milieu 

[4] 5. Andante sostenuto (Adagio):  Op. 335  No. 20

[5] 6 & 7 Moderato (Port de bras et pas de badin): 

  • Op. 821 No. 4
  • Op 299 No. 27

[5a] 8. Moderato (Mirror dance): Op. 139 No. 54

[5b] 9. Allegro animato (Ensemble):  740 No. 45 (A flat major)

[6] 10. Andantino (Pas de deux romantique*): Op. 335 No. 39

[6a] 11. Allegro animato (Sortie): Repeat of  Op. 740 No. 45

[6b] 11a. Andante (interpolation) (Conclusion): repeat of Op. 335 No. 37

[7] 12. Allegro vivo (Pirouettes)  Op. 335 No. 16

[8] 13. Allegretto scherzando (Relevés) Op. 335 No. 35

[9] 14. Vivace (Piqués and grands pirouettes) Op. 740 No. 49 (Octaves)

       15. Allegro vivo  Op. 636 No. 17 [en diagonal]

[10] 6: Allegrissimo (Prima ballerina solo) Op. 299 No. 40

[10a] 17. Vivace (Coda*)  (Repeat of No. 12, Op. 740 No. 49)

[11] 18. Allegro (Small leaps) [“Hoppity hop”] 

  • Op. 335 No. 19
  • Op. 299 17 (F, trans. in E)

19. Allegro (Pas de quatre) 

  • Op. 740 No. 40

20. Allegro Op. 740 No. 16 (but possibly with something else mixed in)

21. Allegro (Brisés) [“Boys brisés] Op. 821 No. 89 (C# minor, trans. G minor)

[12] 22. Mazurka: Op. 355 No. 36

[13] 23. Tarantella  [“Jetés] (Missing source: – A minor, in 6/8, in (double) octaves) Update on 29th May 2014 – see this post  and a link to the score – but no opus number 

[14] 24. Vivace (Broad leaps) [“1st finale”]: Op. 740 – 37  (D minor)

25. Maestoso: [“Principals”]  Op. 740 15 (E flat major, transp. to D)

26: Vif  [“2nd finale”]  Op. 365 No. 45 (A minor)

Notes on the naming and numbering of the Etudes ballet music

  • Numbers in square brackets [#] refer to the numbering in the orchestral score
  • Secondary numbers after the bracketed numbers refer to the numbering in the piano reduction, and correspond also to the numbering in the inlay booklet for the Terence Kern recording with London Festival Ballet orchestra, Cat. No. 7243 5 69089 2 5). Please note that these numbers refer to the order of the score, they’re not track numbers. Score numbers and track numbers sometimes match, but in the case of 6 & 7, for example, which are both on one track, the score numbering gets out of sync with the track numbers. 
  • The first title (i.e. things like ‘allegro’ and ‘vif’ are taken from the Terence Kern recording (see above).
  • Descriptive titles in round brackets (tendus, pirouettes etc.) are taken from the Danish Radio Orchestra recording with Rozhdestvensky , and match with the titles in the piano reduction.
  • Titles in square brackets and in inverted commas [“First finale”] are what these sections are known as colloquially in rehearsal.
  • Information in round brackets after the opus numbers are just ‘notes to self’ for me, to identify which etude I’m talking about without having to refer back to the score.
  • The main source I’m missing is the tarantella. In the score it’s in A minor, but Riisager may have transposed it, as he has a couple of the other studies.
  • Riisager quotes bits and pieces from other studies within the orchestral texture I think, so I may well have missed other sources. For example, I think  there is a bit of Op.  821 No. 22 in there somewhere, but I’ll have to listen through again to see where I think I heard it.
  • All the sources are now available online, mostly from IMSLP – see links below. I am grateful to two commenters who directed me a) to a source for the tararantella and b) to a recent upload of book two of Op. 355 at IMSLP (for the mazurka).

Sources from the IMSLP and one from the Henselt Library: 


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14 thoughts on “Études (ballet) – the sources for Riisager’s score

  1. Morgan

    The strike rate is remarkably high for Czerny etudes in terms of functionality for ballet class and just enough musical freshness. The latter is a tricky category, especially among the lesser ballet composers of the 19th century where the notes are sometimes too plain for my liking ! Of the Burgmuller studies my favourite is the spring awakening which seems to have the edge over any of his actual ballet music. Really enlivens the class.

    1. Jonathan Still Post author

      I agree totally about Czerny, and there’s a kind of affinity between the etudes and ballet class that makes perfect sense. I know what you mean about the 19th century composers, although as the years go by, my admiration for Minkus increases in inverse proportion to my lack of it for Tchaikovsky at his worst. In my view, Minkus can be dull, but there’s always a shape and tune to his dullness, but when Tchaikovsky runs out of ideas, it’s slim pickings indeed.

      1. Morgan

        I know what you mean about Minkus and Tchaikovsky. There are some delightful numbers in Baydere etc. which always seem to give a lift to the class.
        That Czerny/ Presser volume you pointed out contains a number of gems. I particularly the 6/8 étude (no.22) ….I can imagine this working very well for many exercises and more or less ‘off the shelf’ without any enhancements!

  2. Stephane Fournial

    Hi.. wonderful job.. I do have a question, do you know if does exist a partition of piano from the ballet Etudes and in that case where to find it…Thank you in advance
    Best regards

  3. Amalie

    Thank you so much. As a ballet pianist that needed to find one of the variations in a split second for a guest teacher I am so grateful that you wrote out this list so I could easily find the Etude I needed. Thank you.

    1. Jonathan Still Post author

      That’s great, and thanks for the feedback. Just be warned – the variations in the ballet are not all exactly as they are in Czerny’s original, so if they want to do the whole variation, check with a recording of the ballet before you get in the studio!


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